Facebook and Instagram are killing off our memories

first_imgIn a separate story at the University of Texas, researchers found people are worse at performing simple tasks and remembering information when they have a smartphone within eye shot – suggesting people should leave them in their pockets or handbags. Even when they were turned off and in our line of sight, people still seemed distracted, the scientists found.What’s more, posting pictures on social media can actually alter our perception of how we recall certain events. Cognitive scientist Alixandra Barash, from New York University, has been delving into research about how smartphones change what we notice.Using Christmas as an example, she said if she asked so-called “Instagrammers” to recall their experience of the festive season, they’d actually start visualising what happened from an “outsider’s perspective” – as if they were looking at a photograph rather than the real thing.She said: “When people are in more of a third-person perspective, they’ll have less intense emotions when they relive the experience, whereas if I stay in the first-person perspective, I feel the genuine emotions that I felt during the exchange.” These people in pink raincoats on a boat ride at Niagara Fall may struggle to remember exactly what they saw A week later, they were quizzed on aspects of the visit. A group armed with iPods with cameras, taking pictures as they went, recalled less correct answers about what they had set their eyes upon than a separate group armed with nothing but their memories.The researchers say this proves having a device like a smartphone containing a camera takes us away from the moment. The obsession with taking smartphone photos is causing people to lose their most precious memories, according to new research.Scientists found that people are so distracted by taking pictures, they couldn’t actually remember what they had seen.The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, said using smartphones alters our memories by taking us away from the moment.It’s the latest in a line of research revealing how smartphones and staring at screens impacts on not only our health, but all aspects of our lives.The researchers decided to look at how we increasingly use social media to record and share our experiences in a surprise memory test.They took hundreds of participants on a self-guided tour of a church and encouraged people to take notes of what they saw – including what the building looked like.center_img The science behind it says that when we create memories, neurons in our brains link together sensations such as what something looked or felt like. But when we’re distracted, these are not stored in our brains – instead lasting forever on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Emma Templeton, a Dartmouth College psychological researcher who led the the study, wrote that “participants without media consistently remembered their experience more precisely than participants who used media.” She added: “Together, these findings suggest that using media may prevent people from remembering the very events they are attempting to preserve.”Previously, studies have shown how the constant presence of a mobile phone in our hands has a “brain drain” effect, that reduces people’s intelligence and attention spans. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. These people in pink raincoats on a boat ride at Niagara Fall may struggle to remember exactly what they sawCredit:Oleksiy Maksymenko/All Canada Photoslast_img