The addition of a camera to the cell phone was a game-changer for the way we experience life, especially important events. Most people today have the option to pull out their cell phones and snap pictures whenever they would like to.
However, not everyone is a fan of the constant documentation of today’s world, and some even argue that taking photos lessens the experience.
Recently, a video was posted to Youtube of Adele, 28-year-old British singer, who asked a fan to stop recording while she was performing in Verona, Italy.
At one point Adele tells the fan, “Could you stop filming me with that video camera? Because I’m really here in real life. You can enjoy it in real life rather than through your camera.”
Although constantly taking pictures may be an unpopular practice, a recent study by the American Psychological Association showed that those taking photographs of everyday activities enjoyed the experience more than those who did not take photos.
Kristin Diehl, from the University of Southern California; Gal Zauberman, from Yale University and Alixandra Barasch, from the University of Pennsylvania, worked on the study that was recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Diehl said that this study was the first to research the effect that taking photos has on people’s experiences.
Researchers had 2,000 participants in the study. The researchers planned several different activities for people to do, such as taking a tour or eating a meal, the participants were then told either to take photos or not take photos.
After the activity, the participants were asked to complete a survey designed to measure enjoyment and engagement of the activity.
“We show that, relative to not taking photos, photography can heighten enjoyment of positive experiences by increasing engagement,” Kristin Diehl said.
The study also revealed that in addition to enjoyment, those who took photos also felt that they were more engaged in the activity they were asked to do.
“One critical factor that has been shown to affect enjoyment is the extent to which people are engaged with the experience,” the authors wrote in the study.
While most experiences saw an increase of enjoyment while taking photos, the researchers found that taking photos during unpleasant experiences made those experiences even more unpleasant.
For example, participants observed a lion attacking a water buffalo during a virtual safari. Those who had to take photos had lower levels of enjoyment than the participants who did not take photos.
Researchers concluded that actively taking photos increased levels of enjoyment but said that cameras that record every moment without the user needing to do anything, such as a GoPro, would not have the same effect.