That friend of yours who snaps photos of everything on a trip may be enjoying him or herself more than someone who just observes and doesn’t take photos. According to a new multi-university study, reported on Gizmag, taking snapshots can actually make your experiences more enjoyable.
The study was conducted by the University of Southern California, Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania. In all cases, participants were instructed to either take photos of what they were seeing and doing, or to take none. Almost invariably, when they subsequently rated their enjoyment of the activity, the picture-takers said they enjoyed it more.
According to the researchers, this is because taking photos increases a person’s engagement in an activity – they’re constantly looking for the most interesting aspects of it and then documenting those, instead of just being along for the ride. There are some situations, however, in which the opposite is true. For example, when test subjects went on a virtual safari and observed a water buffalo being attacked by lions, the people who had to take photos reported a more negative experience than those who simply observed.