Why Facebook and Instagram will ruin our vacation memories

Taking and immediately sharing a picture on social tends to erase the experience from our memory in part. Better to print the photo

Let's take a picture so we'll remember this moment forever. This is one of the most common phrases that many people utter before pressing the shutter of a camera or the button on a smartphone. Especially on vacation, when the need to immortalize themselves is high. Yet it is not always so.

Taking too many photos, in fact, would risk, according to some researchers, to ruin the memories of our vacations. The problem would not be the photos, but the social networks. Let's try to understand something. According to the study, published on the well-known website Quartz, the images posted on Instagram or Facebook would not have the same effect, in recalling the past moments, of a photograph taken and printed. The digital file, again referring to the survey, available at any time, would dull the memory.

The research

The researchers arrived at this conclusion by conducting several studies. In one experiment, they asked respondents to recall moments they experienced during an obstacle course, measuring their memories two months later. In doing so, it was taken into account whether or not the people involved in the investigation had purchased items. The results showed that those who bought souvenirs were more likely to recall the past experience.

Proving that a physical photo can keep memories vivid, the researchers conducted a second study in which people were asked to recall a trip they had previously taken, comparing the memory of those who had a framed photo to those who did not. Again, those who remembered best were those who had a "tangible" photo.


The researchers came to a conclusion. It would seem that the thought of having to print a photo keeps the memory active over time. Taking and immediately sharing an image on social networks, on the other hand, would tend to partially erase the experience. Will it really be so?