In the generation of smartphones and photo-taking apps like Snapchat and Instagram, taking photographs is a breeze. With front-facing cameras, people don’t even need to have a photographer be present to take their photos – they can simply take a ‘selfie’ or a ‘wefie’. In this generation, photo-taking has become such a normal everyday activity that we don’t even think twice about doing it. However, is the act of constantly taking photos affecting our ability to perform cognitive functions? There are a few scientific studies on the impact of taking photographs on the brain. Here are a few findings that may be of relevance to you.
Photographs as a method of offloading
Our brains work much like computers. And, much like computers, we are only able to remember a certain amount of things that are important in our lives, such as our NRIC and phone numbers. The other information is typically offloaded – which means stored in a different place so that our brains do not have to constantly remember them. Most often, we store them in our phones or on a piece of paper. It has been shown that taking photographs is impairing our memory as we are often offloading the information we see, thinking that we can always refer to it later. While this offloading would be critical in a test of memory, it also somewhat impairs our ability to appreciate the memory that was captured. We are often focused on the act of taking the photograph that we are not fully capturing our surroundings in our memory. When you eventually go back to look at the pictures you have taken, you may even find yourself wondering: was this really a memory I had?
Selfies as a critical view of ourselves
Selfies brought a new wave into photography. But the pictures that we take of ourselves using the front-facing camera on our phones are actually negatively affecting our self-esteem. When we take a normal photo, our focus is often on ensuring that the subject and the scenery look their best. However, when we are taking selfies, the focus is brought back to ourselves. With the ability to see ourselves before we press the shutter, selfies require us to closely examine our visual appearance and try to fix our flaws. Just think of the last time you took a selfie and most likely you will remember spotting the stray hair blocking your face, or the jarring pimple. When we take selfies, we are trying to correct ourselves in every possible way and that can make us feel worse. Specifically, a study conducted at York University concluded that college-going women who take selfies felt worse about themselves than those who do not. And incessant selfie-taking could also be linked to anxiety and other mental health issues. Having somebody take a picture of you, like an event photographer in Singapore, may just be better than taking the photograph into your own hands.
Photo-taking can have an adverse effect on our brains, especially when it is so seeped into our everyday lives. The next time you want to take that picture, you may want to consider whether that memory would be more precious as a sliver in your brain. If not, you may want to see the pictures of the event photographer in Singaporeinstead.