Don’t snap your memorable moments, just enjoy them says new study

News source from CTV News

New U.S. research has found that taking photos of life’s enjoyable moments could actually lead to you enjoying them less.

Led by Gia Nardini at the University of Denver along with researchers at Washington University in St Louis and the University of Florida, Nardini was prompted to carry out the new research when she herself came back from a trip to a wildlife preserve thinking she had spent more time taking photos than actually living in the moment.

To investigate the idea further, the authors carried out a series of five different tests including a total of 718 participants. Some were surveyed on whether photographing highly enjoyable experiences increases, decreases or has no effect on enjoyment while others were asked to take part in experiences and say whether they enjoyed it when taking photos and when putting the camera down.

The findings, published in the journal Psychology and Marketing, showed that if the event is a highly enjoyable one, then stopping to take photos will distract from this enjoyment.

In particular, the participants who watched a highly enjoyable video without snapping photos enjoyed the experience significantly more, at 72.6 on a 100-point scale, than those occasionally taking pictures, at 63.8 on the 100-point scale.

“We’re looking at experiences that are overall highly enjoyable, ones you really get immersed in, things that are a 8-, 9- and 10- on a 10-point scale of enjoyment,” said co-author Robyn LeBoeuf, “When you take pictures, you tend to enjoy them less. Taking pictures hurts.”

“We get so focused on picture-taking, we miss the experience itself.”

However, the surveys revealed that many people, 51.4 per cent, think taking photos has no effect on enjoyment, and 27.9 per cent believed it increased enjoyment. Just 21.6 per cent said it decreased enjoyment

“Most people don’t think it hurts. Certainly, this isn’t obvious to people,” commented LeBoeuf.

Sharing photos on social media appeared to hinder people’s enjoyment even further, with the team finding that when watching a highly enjoyable video, 83.7 per cent of participants enjoyed the video when they just sat back and watched it, compared to 76.2 per cent who watched and took personal pictures, and 73.5 who watched and took photos to share.

“Thinking ‘Oh, I have to post these’ makes it even harder to enjoy the experience,” said LeBoeuf.

However, when watching or partaking in a moderately enjoyable video or experience, taking pictures appeared to have no negative effect.

In addition, the researchers also looked at 99 participants who were texting while watching an enjoyable video, and found that this common digital distraction could also reduce our enjoyment of experiences, adding that photography was merely “one manifestation of a larger range of behaviors, such as texting, tweeting and posting on social media that surreptitiously distract people from the moment, resulting in diminished enjoyment.”

“When advising people, we can tell them, ‘Hey, you may want to be more mindful when deciding whether to take pictures,'” concludes LeBoeuf.

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