To take a photo or to not take a photo? We often hear the wish that people would put down their phones and enjoy the moment. In this day and age where social media is king, it's hard to ignore the urge to capture and share every moment. In 2015, users shared an average of 2 billion pictures on Facebook and 80 million photos on Instagram each day. But does taking photos of everything from special occasions to every day activities take away from truly enjoying these experiences? Some lovely researchers over at the American Psychological Association did a study to put this finally to rest! Here are some situations in which people commonly take photos, studied to see if this made the experience more or less fun.
Food: To be Eaten or Photographed?
It can be a little funny watching someone try to get the perfect angle and lighting to photograph their meal before eating it. Let's hand it to them, it probably takes a lot of self-restraint to not dig into a delicious meal right away! But does taking pictures of your meal make it less enjoyable? The researchers had half a group of people out to dinner take photos of their meal and the other half simply eat. At the end, they did a survey to see if taking photos had any effect on the enjoyment. The results showed that people taking photos felt more engagement and enjoyment. So next time you're eating a delicious meal, feel free to snap a quick picture to share with friends and family! Plus, it's always fun to look back and remember all the tasty things you've eaten!
Museums: See With Your Eyes or a Camera?
Another test they did was on people wandering around a museum. They fitted them with fancy tech that could capture how long people looked at the exhibits (So cool! Technology!). Again, they had half of the participants take pictures and the other half not. The findings showed that those who were allowed to take photos again experienced more enjoyment! If you're permitted to take photos, go ahead and capture some of your favorite exhibits the next time you're at a museum.
Getting Involved: Take Photos or Focus?
But what about if you're doing an activity that requires a lot of focus? Won't taking pictures be distracting? They also tested this by splitting up a group into four sections. One group did an arts and craft activity and stopped to take photos and another group did the same but with no pictures. The other two groups were observers, with one half taking pictures and the other just watching. The results showed that both groups that were allowed to take photos did have a better time than those not allowed.
So there you have it, folks! Science has proven it once and for all. Taking pictures does not mean you aren't living in the moment! In fact, it can increase how much you enjoy even the most mundane activities. So get out there and snap away. Share these photos with friends, family, and all the other internet-users!