To some, vacation selfie takers seem like a self-absorbed group, more interested in crafting a (totally staged) "perfect" Instagram moment for their followers than experiencing their new surroundings. And as part of that pursuit, haters would argue, the selfie set is actually missing out completely on living in the moment.
But are those negative associations actually true for people who snap selfies on vacation?
Vacation rental marketplace HomeAway has released new summer research that digs into how selfies can actually change the brain of a person on vacation. The study partnered with researchers at the University of Texas at Austin to look at 700 travelers, surveying the group before, during, and after their vacations. A subset of travelers also downloaded an app that tracks the amount of time they spent on their phones. And the findings of the research might surprise you.
The study examined the effect of technology use on memory, as well as investigated other factors that contribute ultimately to whether a vacation is memorable or forgettable for the taker.
Of note, the results showed that people who take selfies and other sorts of photos on vacation are 40 percent more likely to remember their trips.
And when users posted those shots to Instagram, they were 24 percent more likely to remember how they felt — which is typically pretty good on vacation — during important moments of their trip.
Of course, as with all things in life, moderation is key here: Using your phone can help you remember your vacation, but the ideal time to be on that thing is just two hours or less per day; when you use your phone longer than that on vacation, it can make you 26 percent more likely to have trouble remembering your trip.
In short, the takeaway message is selfies can actually be a good thing on vacation — the research even suggests that changing your pattern to include, and share, a few key moments can have positive mental benefits over a longer term for people who would be otherwise inclined to eschew the controversial habit. But for the love of god — if you can possibly help it — use that phone for vacay photos and not for work emails.
And you can tell your boss that science supports your out-of-office message: Phone users have better vacation memories than laptop users on vacation. And spending just one hour working on your trip per day can make you43 percentmore likely to have trouble remembering it.
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