The research followed two sets of visitors to a museum, one with cameras and the other without.
The results were fascinating.
“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,” said Dr. Linda Henkel.
Henkel told Fox News she got the idea for the study on one of her own vacations.
“Years ago when I was at the Grand Canyon, I remember someone coming up to the canyon’s edge, taking a shot with their camera and then walking away, like ‘got it, done!’ barely even glancing at the magnificent scene sprawling in front of them.”
Henkel’s team calls it the “photo-taking impairment effect.”
“People just pull out their cameras,” Henkel told CNN. “They just don’t pay attention to what they’re even looking at, like just capturing the photo is more important than actually being there.”
The study did reveal that looking more closely, even through a lens, can help.
Fox News reports “zooming in on the details of an object seemed to help the students remember the whole thing later.”
Henkel thinks the findings should be part of a bigger warning.
“It could also be that anytime we mentally count on technology to think or remember for us, that could hurt.”