Annoyed by your friends who always insist on snapping the perfect Instagram-worthy photos? They may be on to something.
Now that everyone carries a camera in their pocket, everyone's a photographer. It's easy to snapshot any given moment. There's the argument that you fail to truly be in the moment and enjoy an experience when you're overly consumed with taking a photo of it. It turns out that's simply not true. A new study found we enjoy experiences more when we take photos to document them.
The study was conducted by researchers at University of Southern California Marshall School of Business. The researchers conducted several experiments to observe if taking photos in different situations had any effect in how much the participants enjoyed each activity. The activities included a sightseeing tour, walking through a museum, and eating lunch. Some participants were permitted to take photos, and others weren't.
The researchers found those who took photos were more engaged and immersed in the activity, And, the camera-toting participants reported they genuinely enjoyed the experiences more than their camera-less peers. Titled "How Taking Photos Increases Enjoyment of Experiences," the results were published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. "We find that taking photos enhances enjoyment of positive experiences across a range of contexts and methodologies," the authors state in their results.
As the researchers dug into the results, they tried to figure out what was going on. They discovered the real enjoyment comes from all the steps that happen before you snap a picture. With camera in hand, you observe the world differently than without. "You're looking for things you want to capture, that you may want to hang onto," researcher Kristin Diehl explained to Time magazine. "That gets people more engaged in the experience, and they tend to enjoy it more." She says people look for things longer and more intently when they plan to photograph an experience. And yes, Instagramming your food counts. Study participants who took three or more photos of their lunch reported being more immersed in their meal.
So don't be shy. Take all the photos of everything and anything you want. You can say science told you to do it. And what happens when you've taken so many that your phone runs out of space? Diehl says you can take a mental photograph for the same effect. "Thinking about what you would want to photograph also gets you more engaged," she told Time.