• Taking photos reduces our capability to remember,
    and perhaps seenthis too

    The camera on the smartphones of today allow people to take photos of everything they see, like, and want to share, sometimes with the motivation to better remember one’s life.

    Studies show that paradoxally, this may have the opposite effect compared to people who spend the time of observing instead of photographing.

    It makes sense, as people tend to snap a quick shot of something they like, thinking they have stored it away for later reference; but the truth is that doing so reduces the likelihood they will actually really remember details of what they have stored away.

    This study is interesting because in this FOMO world where we are overloaded with information, we want to make sure we “remember” everything we came across and many of us here on seenthis.net expose themselves to the same consequence of the study: we quickly archive links whose contents we have skimmed and deemed interesting, thinking we have stored it somewhere in our external memory (seenthis), but chances are we will forget. We will just remember we read something about something, but we reduce the longer term recollection of the actual contents of what we read.

    Point-and-Shoot Memories:
    The Influence of Taking Photos on Memory for a Museum Tour

    Linda A. Henkel, Fairfield University, December 2013

    Two studies examined whether photographing objects impacts what is remembered about them. Participants were led on a guided tour of an art museum and were directed to observe some objects and to photograph others. Results showed a photo-taking-impairment effect: If participants took a photo of each object as a whole, they remembered fewer objects and remembered fewer details about the objects and the objects’ locations in the museum than if they instead only observed the objects and did not photograph them. However, when participants zoomed in to photograph a specific part of the object, their subsequent recognition and detail memory was not impaired, and, in fact, memory for features that were not zoomed in on was just as strong as memory for features that were zoomed in on. This finding highlights key differences between people’s memory and the camera’s “memory” and suggests that the additional attentional and cognitive processes engaged by this focused activity can eliminate the photo-taking-impairment effect.

    People report that they take photographs and record videos as a way to remember events in their lives. [...] On the other hand, taking photos may have a detrimental impact on memory. Photographing a scene may divide one’s attention, similar to when people multitask by using cell phones while driving or walking or laptop computers while learning material. People may also pay less attention to a scene if they take photos, counting on the external device of the camera to “remember” for them, as suggested by research showing that people were less likely to remember information if they expected to have future access to it (e.g., on an external storage device, such as a computer, or via the Internet ;

    #apwall: full academic research paper:
    pdf : http://docdroid.net/89wv
    txt : http://pastebin.com/DHDXKBB3


    Linda A. Henkel:

    see also related : http://seenthis.net/messages/218931


    • Je n’ai aucune mémoire des visages et de l’écoulement du temps. Je peux me souvenir d’un cade d’accès chiffré vu une seule fois jusqu’à 15 ans après, mais je peux ne pas reconnaître une personne rencontrée la veille. Je peux me souvenir de tous les détails d’une journée, mais je ne sais pas si c’était il y a 3 mois ou 3 ans. Je sais rarement ce que j’ai fait la semaine dernière.
      Et ça a toujours plus ou moins été comme cela.

      Du coup, les photos m’ont aidé à me souvenir. Je vais dans l’index chronologique de mon logiciel de classement de photos et je vois ce qui s’est passé à quelle date. Pour moi, c’est magique !

    • Oui Agnès, tout à fait compréhensible, et c’est précisément pourquoi l’étude précise également :

      In addition, the present study examined only the role of photographing objects, not what happens when people review those photos after taking them. Past work has shown that reviewing photos can provide valuable retrieval cues that reactivate and retain memories for the photographed experiences.

      Les avoir en possession (et savoir où elles se trouvent) peut avoir une valeur inestimable pour la personne, pour diverses raisons. Mais encore faut-il, donc, pouvoir les retrouver :

      although research has suggested that the sheer volume and lack of organization of digital photos for personal memories discourages many people from accessing and reminiscing about them

      ...chose qui ne semble poser aucun problème dans votre système de classement-assisté.

    • Shotwell est vraiment bien foutu tout en étant sobre, une fois qu’on l’a configuré pour qu’il ne change pas les dossiers à notre place. (J’ai juste un problème car je ne voudrais pas qu’il scanne les Raws, mais c’est une autre histoire…)
      Pareil : chronologie, étiquettes hiérarchisables, et surtout écriture de toutes les infos à l’intérieur de chaque JPG pour la pérennité.

    • Si vous pouviez m’aider à me rappeler de ce que j’ai photographié la dernière fois, je retrouverais peut-être mon appareil photo que j’ai perdu à ce moment là…

  • Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips
    Daniel Wegner, Harvard University
    Betsy Sparrow, Columbia University

    –-> where have I seenthis ?

    The advent of the Internet, with sophisticated algorithmic search engines, has made accessing information as easy as lifting a finger. No longer do we have to make costly efforts to find the things we want. We can “Google” the old classmate, find articles online, or look up the actor who was on the tip of our tongue. The results of four studies suggest that when faced with difficult questions, people are primed to think about computers and that when people expect to have future access to information, they have lower rates of recall of the information itself and enhanced recall instead for where to access it. The Internet has become a primary form of external or transactive memory, where information is stored collectively outside ourselves.

    This finding corresponds to previous work on directed forgetting, showing that when people don’t believe they will need information for a later exam, they do not recall it at the same rate as when they do believe they will need it. Participants apparently did not make the effort to remember when they thought they could later look up the trivia statements they had read. Be cause search engines are continually available to us, we may often be in a state of not feeling we need to encode the information internally. When we need it, we will look it up. [...] Participants were more affected by the cue that information would or would not be available to them later, regardless of whether they thought they would be tested on it.

    These results suggest that processes of human memory are adapting to the advent of new computing and communication technology. Just as we learn through transactive memory who knows what in our families and offices, we are learning what the computer “knows” and when we should attend to where we have stored information in our computer based memories.
    We are becoming symbiotic with our computer tools, growing into interconnected systems that remember less by knowing information than by knowing where the information can be found. This gives us the advantage of access to a vast range of information,
    although the disadvantages of being constantly “wired” are still being debated.


    pdf of the paper: http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/dwegner/files/sparrow_et_al._2011.pdf


    Daniel Wegner:

    Betsy Sparrow:

    see also related : http://seenthis.net/messages/218933