Opinion | Does Instagram Affect Our Memory?


I came across this interesting article on The Atlantic Cities website about the possible effect using Instagram has on our memories. The article quotes the results of a study by psychological scientist Linda Henkel. She asked

“To what extent does capturing one’s life events with a camera shape what one subsequently remembers?”

As an avid Instagram user that certainly peaked my interest! Study participants were asked to photograph some art pieces in a museum, and to simply observe others.

The main finding was that

people remembered fewer of the photographed objects, and fewer of the details about them, relative to the pieces of art they’d actively observed with their own eyes.

I admit I was surprised by this finding as I have found that  using Instagram actually enhances my memory, but that maybe because I scrapbook my photos! However Henkel also noticed that people had a better recall of the objects they observed when they were asked to zoom in and photograph the details. She concluded that

It may be that our photos can help us remember only if we actually access and interact with them, rather than just amass them.

That’s certainly what I do with my photos. I truly enjoy looking through my Instagram stream, and choosing photos of the details of my life to scrapbook. How about you? You can read the entire article by Emily Badger here.

Leave a Reply