Article Abstract




Theprocess of taking photos is thought to be an easy process that helpsindividual keep memories of a past event. This explains why quite agood number of people engage in the process of photo taking. However,there is a connection between this process and the extent to whichone remembers those past experiences. There exist various scholarlyarticles and journals trying to explain this phenomenon. The purposeof this study is to help bring a clear picture and understanding ofthe relationship between taking photos and what one remembers bypresenting a summary article on Henkel Linda’s journal on pointand shoot memories: the influence of taking photos on memory for amuseum tour.

Theeffect of photo taking on memory

Becauseof the various concerns on whether taking of photos had impact on thememory, studies were carried out to help answer the question whethertaking photos had any effect on the memory. The findings concludedthat it was taking photos of a whole object that had a negativeimpact on the memory unlike taking photos of particular zoomed partsof an object (Henkel, 2013). From the findings, it is evident thatthere is a big difference between the memory of people and that ofthe camera. During the study, the participants were taken around amuseum and asked to take photos. In the first experiment, the memoryof the participants was compared between the objects they took photosand those which they did not while in the second experiment, thememory of objects they photographed as a whole was compared to thatof objects that only a specific zoomed part was photographed.

Implicationsof photo taking on memory

Thereis a firm belief that taking photos helps in reinforcing memory, butpeople need to understand that it could still have negative effectson the memory. This is attributed to the fact that, people may havedivided attention as they observe and take photos at the same time.It could as well be because people mistake that the camera will helpthem keep the memories. In the first experiment, 27 participants wereguided in a museum with instructions to observe all objects clearlyas well as on which objects to take photos and to not take photos. Aday after, the participants were tested about the objects they couldrecall. From the results, it was clear that photography affected thememory of the participants negatively (Henkel, 2013).

Participantsin the second experiment were too guided in the museum to view theobjects and with additional time to photograph them. They were addedan extra condition to take photos by zooming some particular parts.This was basically to identify whether focus on a particular partdraws more attention unlike in the case of photographing the wholeobject (Henkel, 2013). It was observable that taking the photo of thewhole object resulted in undivided attention and thus impairing thememory of the participants whereas focusing on a certain part of theobject does not impact the memory negatively. It was also evidentthat it was easier to memorize the objects that were observed withouttaking any photographs of the same than observing and photographingthe objects.


Theauthor hypothesized that taking photographs in a museum tour impactsnegatively on the memory. The experiments carried out have been in aposition to prove the same. The focusing of the camera was as wellobserved to have a positive implication on the memory of the objectsobserved and photos of particular zoomed parts taken. It wouldhowever have been necessary to carry out the study on differentlocations to help ascertain this hypothesis.


Henkel,L. (2013). “Point and shoot memories: the influence of takingphotos on memory for a museum tour.” Journalof psychological sciences, 25(2),396-402.