Psychology researcher Linda Henkel of Fairfield University in Connecticut took 28 undergrads to the Bellarmine Museum of Art on campus and assigned them works of art to view and others to simply photograph. The next day they were given photo recognition tests and quizzed on specific details. In a second experiment, more students were taken to the museum but this time they were told to view works, to photograph another set of works, and to take close-up photos of another set.

Henkel found that students remembered more about the works that they took time to view and the works that they zoomed in on. She explained that the photos could potentially help with long-term memory, but only if they engaged with the photos in some way instead of simply taking them and storing them away. As a follow-up study, Henkel plans to give her students the choice of which works they want to photograph and which they want to view to see if personal interests have an effect on short-term memory.

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[via LiveScience