This Christmas, you probably plan on taking as many photos of your parties and get-togethers as you can in order to preserve those happy memories. A recent study on NBC News shows, however, that you may be more likely to remember those moments if you weren’t too concerned about taking photos.

Researchers from Fairfield University asked volunteers on a museum tour to photograph some artworks and to observe others. The following day, the participants were given a memory test, the results of which were surprising: people were more likely to recall objects they simply observed than those they took photos of.

The next experiment had the volunteers zoom in on certain parts of the displays, after which another memory test was given. Interestingly, the participants remembered not just the details, but also the pieces as a whole.

Similar to the experiments, researchers believe that by photographing or zooming in on special moments and living out the rest, people remember parts of their lives better. There is no need to constantly take photos of everything as this only leads to more forgetfulness and less experience.

“We're kind of counting on our technology to keep our memories,” says researcher Linda Henkel. “We collect photos almost as if they're trophies, or evidence, but that's not the same thing as trying to capture the experience.”

So instead of becoming too engrossed with your camera this Christmas, why not try to really live through your celebrations? As Henkel concludes, “Be in the moment, instead of the representation of the moment.”


(Photo by Pete Birkinshaw via Flickr Creative Commons)

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