How Capturing the Moment Ruins the Moment

Ever crack open your lighter just as Willie Nelson is getting ready to start crooning a soothing ballad, only to have approximately five billion people around you whip out their smartphones . . . or worse, iPads? Well, now there’s science to back up what every non-annoying person has known since the mid-2000s: picture taking can ruin your recollection of an event.

In a study published in Psychological Science, researchers found that people who concentrated on taking pictures of something had a harder time remembering it than people who did not. The test was fairly simple: researchers took a group of university students through an art museum. During the tour, the students were asked to take note of certain items, either by taking pictures or merely remembering them. The next day, the students took a simple memory test. They had a harder time remembering details about items that they had photographed, but could recall more about items that they were asked to remember. The study’s author, Dr. Linda 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.

So, there you have it, jerks who insist on taking two minutes of terrible Galaxy footage during concerts. Not only does no one on YouTube actually like your dumb shaky footage, but you won’t be able to remember as much of the concert because you weren’t “attending it fully”. Nice going.

This is a test