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Taking Photos On Instagram Can Boost Your Memory

Forget Sudoku, snapping a pic of your lunch and putting a cute Gingham filter on it can boost your brain power. Research in Psychological Science has found that taking photos can improve your visual memory.

The researchers did a series of studies to come to this finding. In one, participants toured a museum exhibit with an audio guide – but only some people had a camera. The participants who took photos of the exhibit recognised more of the objects from the exhibit afterwards, compared to those who didn’t have a camera.

FYI: the photo-takers did remember less of the audio tour compared to the group without cameras. So, taking pics can have some downsides. 

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In another experiment, the participants did a virtual art gallery tour. Some participants could take pics of what they saw. Once again, those who could take photos had a better memory of the objects in the exhibit afterwards, even for parts of the exhibit they didn’t photograph. Surprisingly, participants also had better visual memory if they just “mentally” took a photo. Try uploading that one to Instagram…

“These findings suggest that having a camera changes how people approach an experience in a fundamental way,” the study authors said. “Even when people don’t take a photo of a particular object, like a sculpture, but have a camera with them and the intention to take photos, they remember that sculpture better than people who did not have a camera with them.” 

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The studies suggest that taking a photo focuses your memory towards some parts of your experience – but, err, filters it away from others. So don’t feel guilty if you’re snapping cute Instagram pics on your night out – it may help you remember some juicy details the next morning.

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