When people take pictures or videos and post them on social media in real time, they remember fewer details about their actual experience than those who don’t post right away, according to a new study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
Multitasking is a source of distraction that can interfere with your memory, says study author Emma Templeton, a Ph.D. candidate at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. When people focus more on Instagram instead of what’s happening around them, it can cause them to rely on the photos alone to remember the details of an event.
Looking back at pictures can improve visual memories (like the beauty of the sunrise or well-executed latte art), but it can lead you to lose sight of other aspects of the experience, like the taste of your coffee or how you felt watching the sun creep over the horizon. Per the research, Facebook Live and Instagram Live are no-gos.
You’ll have stronger, more detailed memories if you wait to post your photos until after an event, says Charles Weaver, Ph.D., professor and chair of the department of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. How long after doesn’t matter, as long as you’ve had time to fully process the experience.