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An argument lobbied against many millennials is to put away your phones or camera and live in the now – but new research indicates that you will enjoy the moment more if you capture it.

The study argues that “the act of photographing something can actually enhance enjoyment of an experience, by focusing attention on and heightening engagement with the thing being photographed.” Scientists tested this enjoyment by conducting an experiment with groups of people on a sight-seeing tour, finding that those equipped with cameras and encouraged to take pictures enjoyed themselves significantly more than a control group asked only to observe.

Additionally, the study looked at groups of people in museums, again with one group taking photos and others not. They found that photo-takers devoted more time looking at artefacts and by tracking eye movements, saw that they paid closer attention to objects.

Experimental Psychology applicants should consider how this study validates the claim that photo-taking makes people more engaged, as well as appreciating that this study doesn’t validate hypotheses. In particular, this experiment shows that activity which enhances the present activity creates enjoyment; activities like texting and browsing the internet distract from activity you’re currently engaging. Does this then entail more enjoyment or less?

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