Our obsession with taking photos is changing how we remember the past

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#1
Our obsession with taking photos is changing how we remember the past

For many people, taking hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures is now a crucial part of going on holiday – documenting every last detail and posting it on social media. But how does that affect our actual memories of the past – and how we view ourselves? As an expert on memory, I was curious.

Unfortunately, psychological research on the topic is so far scant. But we do know a few things. We use smart phones and new technologies as memory repositories. This is nothing new – humans have always used external devices as an aid when acquiring knowledge and remembering.

[The Conversation]
 

Arthur

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#3
Thanks for posting.

I like the connection Mazzoni draws between memory and identity, and how selfies actually present a distorted picture of self.
 

Slootvreter

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#4
Thanks for posting.

I like the connection Mazzoni draws between memory and identity, and how selfies actually present a distorted picture of self.
Besides the fact that it's a photo you took yourself, why is it different from a photo of you?
 

KT-B

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#6
What they say is true. We do make up false memories.

I have a crystal clear recollection of owning a budgie. He was called Count Jester. He was pale blue with an almost white nose. We also had a green one called Butch. I remember them getting out of their cage and we were running up and down the street, looking for them. We eventually got them to go back into the cage as they were hungry.
My neighbour's son was breeding birds so we eventually gave him the two budgies. Count Jester turned out to be Countess Jester and went on to lay several eggs.

It seems I imagined the entire thing as neither my mother, nor my brother, remember ever owning budgies.
 

KT-B

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#7
Besides the fact that it's a photo you took yourself, why is it different from a photo of you?
It says that you are not being natural - ie true to who you are. But I have noticed one thing. Selfies are only taken by people who think they look good in photos. They do not need to be good looking - only to think they look good. And they will always take a dozen at least, in order to find the best one. These are not "we were here" pics but "look how cute I looked here" pics.
 

Slootvreter

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#8
It says that you are not being natural - ie true to who you are. But I have noticed one thing. Selfies are only taken by people who think they look good in photos. They do not need to be good looking - only to think they look good. And they will always take a dozen at least, in order to find the best one. These are not "we were here" pics but "look how cute I looked here" pics.
Lots of selfies are of people at certain landmarks or tourist attractions, not the snapchat type kek you are talking about.

People are reading too much into simple things like photos of oneself.
 

Arthur

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#9
Besides the fact that it's a photo you took yourself, why is it different from a photo of you?
Mazzoni says it well:

Dr Mazzoni said:
Another issue is the fact that research has uncovered a lack of spontaneity in selfies and many other photos. They are planned, the poses are not natural and at times the image of the person is distorted. They also reflect a narcissistic tendency which shapes the face in unnatural mimics – artificial big smiles, sensual pouts, funny faces or offensive gestures.
Importantly, selfies and many other photos are also public displays of specific attitudes, intentions and stances. In other words, they do not really reflect who we are, they reflect what we want to show to others about ourselves at the moment. If we rely heavily on photos when remembering our past, we may create a distorted self identity based on the image we wanted to promote to others.
 

KT-B

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#11
Lots of selfies are of people at certain landmarks or tourist attractions, not the snapchat type kek you are talking about.

People are reading too much into simple things like photos of oneself.
Ok I was generalising. But I have a group of people I follow on Instagram that matches what I said above. A mix of men and women. If you take their phones there will be several poses at the same spot, mainly because they weren't sure they were giving the look they wanted. This is not bad. We always try and look our best and show the world the view of ourselves we want them to see. This is just immortalised in digital data.
 

Slootvreter

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#12
Ok I was generalising. But I have a group of people I follow on Instagram that matches what I said above. A mix of men and women. If you take their phones there will be several poses at the same spot, mainly because they weren't sure they were giving the look they wanted.
I hear you, but who cares. Where's the harm. People generally pose for photos in a way they know looks better on photos.

EDIT: it is harmful when someone misrepresents themselves with a flattering selfie on Tinder :thumbsdown::p
 

KT-B

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#13
I hear you, but who cares. Where's the harm. People generally pose for photos in a way they know looks better on photos.

EDIT: it is harmful when someone misrepresents themselves with a flattering selfie on Tinder :thumbsdown::p
Agree - see my edit. Girls - who aren't totally gorgeous - misrepresent themselves in photos all the time. Even I do it. Might take the photo from a particular angle - apply a filter - make sure the lighting is right - only show those parts I am not ashamed of ..... we all do it.
1546844993513.png
 
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bwana

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#14
This has serious consequences. Taking photos of an event rather than being immersed in it has been shown to lead to poorer recall of the actual event – we get distracted in the process.
Totally relate to this. Can't count the number of times I'll come home from a match and I can't even tell my wife the final score, unless I took a photo of the scoreboard. It's a case of spending too much time focusing on the trees to pay attention to the forest.

When we go on vacation I try to spend as little time taking photos as possible.
 

Beyond.Celsus

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#15
I hate taking photos.
I find it tedious and annoying while my SO loves it and needs to take several photos of everything.

Some people like it, some don't.
Same with cheese. Cheese is bad! Stop eating Cheese! People are putting cheese on everything! CHOLESTEROL!

People got over it and still eating cheese without a fuss.

Let people do what they want. This article is taking the act of taking photos way to seriously.
 

alphabyte

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#16
I wholeheartedly support the sentiments expressed in the article. While there is value in having an accurate record of a place, building, waterfall, whatever, people often tend to be so obsessed by taking photos that they overlook the actual experience of being there, absorbing some of the wonder and joy of the place.
Particularly at the popular tourist attractions I have seen many cases of a tour bus stopping, people pouring out of the bus, click-click-click, clambering back on board and 5 minutes later they are on their way again. This is value for money?
 

ToxicBunny

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#17
I wholeheartedly support the sentiments expressed in the article. While there is value in having an accurate record of a place, building, waterfall, whatever, people often tend to be so obsessed by taking photos that they overlook the actual experience of being there, absorbing some of the wonder and joy of the place.
Particularly at the popular tourist attractions I have seen many cases of a tour bus stopping, people pouring out of the bus, click-click-click, clambering back on board and 5 minutes later they are on their way again. This is value for money?
100% this...

I'm not a fan of photos in general, I would much rather experience a place than see it through a lens.
 
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