– EN Fitness & Wellbeing – Using social media to document life events may be detrimental to the memory, researchers claim.
Academics in the U.S. wanted to learn more about how uploading photos and videos to platforms such as Facebook and Instagram could impact the enjoyment, focus and memory of those specific moments.
In a recent study, participants were either asked to attend an engaging TED Talk or go on a self-guided tour of a church on the Stanford University campus.
While involved in these activities, individuals had to either take photographs or notes of the event, record the event but not save it, share the event on social media, or merely reflect internally.
Finally, everybody was asked to share how much they enjoyed the day and how focused they were, before completing a quiz to test how well they remembered the experience.
The team, led by Diana Tamir of Princeton University, discovered that while social media use didn’t appear to alter the degree of enjoyment of engagement with the activities, those who documented their experiences scored 10 per cent worse on the memory test.
“Across three studies, participants without media consistently remembered their experience more precisely than participants who used media,” the team wrote in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. “There is no conclusive evidence that media use impacted subjective measures of experience. Together, these findings suggest that using media may prevent people from remembering the very events they are attempting to preserve.”
However, the researchers didn’t believe social media was solely to blame for this shift, as the same result was apparent in those who took photos of notes of the day without publishing them. Comparatively, those that were asked to reflect internally did not seem to lose any memory of the event, thus reproducing in any form appeared to impair a person’s ability to remember the past.