Category Archives: Cognition

Why Taking Photos At Museums Is Hindering Your Memory

Posted by Yelena Shabrova

Sounds quite authorative, does not it? Like the author definitely knows what he/she is talking about. Or more like it’s coming from a well-known news channel that does not feel their job is fully done if the title does not sound like groundbreaking news. The article referenced by The Huffington Post, No Pictures, Please: Taking Photos May Impede Memory of Museum Tour, is more balanced and less categorical, and therefore looks more trustworthy to me.

If someone takes photos at the exhibit it does not automatically means they are not fully engaged in their experience and rely on technology to remember it for them.

Is the next day after the event when pic-snapping and just observing participants of the research were tested for what they remembered as important as long-term memories? What if brains of older people work differently from those of undergrad kids, especially for those with less then perfect visual memory? And since the research is not available to the general public (the abstract does not count for much) it’s anybody’s guess how exactly it was carried out, what the participants’ background was, or how many participated. All of that affects how relevant the results are to our everyday experience.

And why there is the assumption that the reason people takes shots at museums (and possibly other places) is to preserver the memory of the event? I use those snapshots to do my research on the piece or the artist later, and more then once sharing those pics helped to spread the word and get more people enjoy the art as much as I did. And in reading through a growing number of comments to the research (or rather, to how it was reported) I see that I am not the only one who does not use a camera or phone merely as a memory crutch. Is the problem that the research points out even a real one?

UA Study: Your Brain Sees Things You Don’t

Posted by Yelena Shabrova

Doctoral degree candidate from University of Arizona Jay Sanguinetti conducted a new study that was published in the Psychological Science journal.The study indicates that the brain processes and understands visual input that people don’t consciously perceive:

UA Study: Your Brain Sees Things You Don’t

The abstract for the research itself states:

“Traditional theories of perception posit that only objects access semantics; abutting, patently shapeless grounds do not. Surprisingly, this assumption has been untested until now. In two experiments, participants classified silhouettes as depicting meaningful real-world or meaningless novel objects while event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded. The borders of half of the novel objects suggested portions of meaningful objects on the ground side. Participants were unaware of these meaningful objects because grounds are perceived as shapeless.”