If you’ve been to a major art museum recently, particularly one with any famous works of art, you’re probably hyper-aware of how much people want to take cellphone photos of the artworks they’ve travelled thousands of miles to gaze upon. Unfortunately, a new study by researchers at Fairfield University in Connecticut have found that people who take digital photographs of artwork in museums and galleries retain less information about the artworks than those who don’t.

"When you press click on that button for the camera, you're sending a signal to your brain saying, 'I've just outsourced this, the camera is going to remember this for me,'" Linda Henkel, a psychology professor at Fairfield University in Connecticut, who spearheaded the study, told the Wall Street Journal. "The photos are trophies. You want to show people where you were rather than saying, 'Hey, this is important, I want to remember this.'”

So, maybe take a second to breath, ingest an artwork without mediation, and think about it rather than trying to show it off. Your cultural memory will thank you later.

Read the method of the study here.


[via The Wall Street Journal