Posts tagged with ‘memory’
Emily Badger, How Instagram Alters Your Memory, The Atlantic Cities.
To test this, Henkel, a researcher at Fairfield University, concocted a series of experiments leading undergraduate students on guided tours through the university’s Bellarmine Museum of Art. They looked at paintings, sculptures, pottery, jewelry and mosaics. The students were given digital cameras to photograph some of the objects and were told to simply observe the others. The next day, they were given a series of recall tests, trying to detect which objects they remembered best in name and detail.
As it turned out, people remembered fewer of the photographed objects, and fewer of the details about them, relative to the pieces of art they’d actively observed with their own eyes.
…There was one catch in Henkel’s findings: She also asked participants to zoom in on and photograph the details of some of these art pieces. And people who did that were much better at remembering the works of art that those who simply wedged entire objects into one frame and then walked away. Perhaps, by focusing consciously on the details, we can cut back on some of this “photo-taking impairment effect.”
A new study out of Columbia University suggests that humans are offloading memory and recall to our internet devices. Simply, why bother remembering things when you can look it up when you actually need it?
From the study’s abstract:
The advent of the Internet, with sophisticated algorithmic search engines, has made accessing information as easy as lifting a finger. No longer do we have to make costly efforts to find the things we want. We can “Google” the old classmate, find articles online, or look up the actor who was on the tip of our tongue. The results of four studies suggest that when faced with difficult questions, people are primed to think about computers and that when people expect to have future access to information, they have lower rates of recall of the information itself and enhanced recall instead for where to access it. The Internet has become a primary form of external or transactive memory, where information is stored collectively outside ourselves.
Ever have a product pop up in your memories? And you swear, absolutely swear that indeed, yes, you were drinking a Coke while listening to your iPod as you cruised down the California coast in your brand new Cooper Mini even though you don’t own a Cooper Mini and don’t drink Coke but just might have an iPod.
There’s a reason for that. Scientists refer to this as “false experience effect” and it revolves around a theory known as memory reconsolidation in which it is suggested we reconstruct our memories each time we think them.
So how do the iPod, Coke and car fit into the mix?
Take it away, Wired:
A new study, published in The Journal of Consumer Research, helps explain both the success of this marketing strategy and my flawed nostalgia for Coke. It turns out that vivid commercials are incredibly good at tricking the hippocampus (a center of long-term memory in the brain) into believing that the scene we just watched on television actually happened. And it happened to us.
Takeaway: Remember Journalism 101 and don’t just question mom when she alleges that she loves you. Question your memories. Especially the product placement bits.