Learning to put the camera down


It may seem counter-intuitive, especially in today’s “take and share pictures of everything” society, but research published in the journal Psychological Science points out that if you really want to commit something to memory, you’re better off looking and focusing on it – not taking a picture for later review.

Essentially, the bottom line is that we commit things to memory better when we give singular focus to the thing we want to remember.

Taking out our phone or camera and trying to take a picture fractures that focus, and makes it more difficult for our brains to cement the memory. Dr Linda Henkel of Fairfield University set up an experiment at an art museum that went something like this:

Undergraduates were led on a tour around the museum and were asked to take note of certain objects, either by photographing them or by simply observing them. The next day, their memory for the objects was tested.

The data showed that participants were less accurate in recognising the objects they had photographed compared to those they had only observed. Furthermore, they weren’t able to answer as many questions about the objects’ visual details for those objects they had photographed.

Henkel calls this the “photo-taking impairment effect”:

“When people rely on technology to remember for them – counting on the camera to record the event and thus not needing to attend to it fully themselves – it can have a negative impact on how well they remember their experiences,” she explains.

A second study replicated these findings, but it also presented an interesting twist: Taking a photograph of a specific detail on the object by zooming in on it with the camera seemed to preserve memory for the object, not just for the part that was zoomed in on but also for the part that was out of frame.

Read more here……




One thought on “Learning to put the camera down

  1. What stands out to me from this are the spiritual parallels, particularly regarding God’s design for the ekklesia.

    Generally, we are learning to throw away all crutches; it makes life more difficult in some ways but it also makes us much more directly involved. Creating things ourselves is much more fulfilling. I often wonder how much of man’s technology will survive into the millennial reign; from my reading the world will be a much smaller place with vast areas unliveable.

    But about the ekklesia. It astounds me how ‘home-educators’ see the danger and inferiority of crutches like schools and even curriculae, but do not apply the lessons to the church which is the institution that gave birth to the schools. Churches are in fact technological crutches invented by men, organized and funded by men’s methods.

    Why all the admonitions for potential elders to be hospitable, serving meals unknowingly even to angels in their homes…when all people ever do is meet in the meeting house once a week? It is because God intends Christians to learn how to love one another in real personal and daily relationships. ‘Daily’ is an operative word in the NT.

    Why read and study the bible for yourself when you can be ‘fed’ from the pulpit or whatever flavour of religious book is popular at the moment? We surely have learned a lot more since quitting that crutch…it has made us personally responsible, accountable, and caring. But most ‘church’ people are unresponsive, dead, asleep…regardless of denomination…because they are comfortable with their religious crutches. They just might find themselves the lukewarm described in Revelation.

    When you throw away your crutch, you recognize your deficiency better. And search harder for a total solution.

    The fact is that every advantage seen in home-education versus schooling can easily be transferred to Christian relationship versus ‘churching’…for those who are willing to investigate and ponder it. The sad part is that most won’t, and are thus judged as hypocrites for seeing where they want to see and ignoring where they don’t.

    But until Christians start accepting the lesson, they will be burdened with the same failures. The world is not standing still, the way is getting narrower all the time, and the number of empty ‘churches’ is growing all the time.

Comments are closed.