Reading Response

In “Photographic Memory: The Effects of Volitional Photo Taking on Memory for Visual and Auditory Aspects of an Experience” Barasch, Diehl, Silverman, and Zauberman examine how volitionally photo taking affects one’s memory in terms of visual and auditory experience. In an attempt of addressing the research question, two hypotheses are tested. The first hypothesis is that compared to someone who does not get involved in photo taking, the visual memory of the aspect of experience is boosted when a person willingly takes photos and not their auditory memory of an experience. The second hypothesis that was formulated was that when people volitionally engage in taking photos, they will have a boosted visual memory only on the things they captured and not those that they did not capture.

Although the target of the study was 300 the study was blessed with a total of 279 participants. 57.9% of the participants belonged to the female gender and the other 42.1% constituted participants of the male gender. The mean age of the female participants was recorded as being 20.4 which means that the subjects of the study were ideally the young youth who more often are excited with photographing due to the current digitalized world. The mean age of the male persons in the study was however not specified as in the case of the female participants.

Like most of the studies, this study employed the use of both the dependent and the independent variables. While the independent variable in the research is the volitional photo taking, the dependent variable is the memory for visual and auditory aspects of an experience. Championing my assumptions is the fact that the scientists are the ones that are in control of the volitional photo taking. However, the memory change in relation to the visual and auditory aspects of an experience relies on the volitional photo taking. Here, the volitional photo taking is constant which makes it the independent variable.

The participants whether availed with camera or not were asked to complete 18 memory questions half of which were visual memory questions and the other half were audio memory questions. The visual memory questions availed the participants with three photos of whatever was on the field. However, two of three were close pictures of whatever they had seen or captured. In the case of the auditory memory questions, three audios were also played but the participants had to choose the one they had been listening in relation to what they had seen or rather captured.

The procedure was simple but the participants did not engage in the activity of photo taking or photo viewing at the same time. They did the activity with a difference of 20 minute apart. Here, what happened was that after the first participants was left to go to the relevant exhibit, the other participant had to wait for 20 minutes for them to also go into the exhibit and take or view the photo.   Before then however, the respondents were availed with a detailed instruction informing them they were to undertake the task independently. They were also availed with map to know the direction of the exhibits they were to view and take photos. After this, the participants were randomly classified as either with camera or with no camera and the status changed after an hour.

The pattern of results was that compared to the participants that did not have the camera, the participants that had the camera had more visual memory. To be precise 66.51 of those with camera recorded high visual memory aspect of experience. In relation to the auditory memory aspect of experience, both the participants with the camera and those without the camera had equally a good auditory memory aspect of experience. Here 77.93 of the participants recorded good auditory memory aspect of experience.

The conclusion of the study was in line with the first hypothesis. This is to mean that at the end of the study, it was discovered that volitional photo taking affects the visual memory aspect of an experience positively as more participants while with the camera recorded high visual capability. Also, another conclusion was that the auditory memory remains boosted with or without the photo taking. Generally, the conclusion is that photo taking does not offload the visual or auditory memory of the aspect of any form of experience hence the society should refrain from perceiving photo taking negatively.

One of the strength that I pointed out concerning the experiment is that it was not biased. It would have been easy for the scientists to decide to only work with a specific number of participants in the “with camera category” and “without camera category”. However, the fact that they decided to ensure everyone at certain specific times falls in either of the category shows that they were not biased which helps in giving the desired accurate findings of the study. In spite this strength; I also denote a weakness in relation to gender. I feel that the research would have used an equal number of men and women to observe gender balance and eradicate being gender biased as was the case.

As I was reading this paper, I was certain that the visual memory aspect of an experience would be high for the participants in the with camera category which turned out to be true. However, I must admit that I was shocked to learn that the auditory memory is not compromised even while someone is engaged in the photo taking activity.