Concert season is upon us, and with it comes the opportunity to get some epic social media fodder. Front row selfie? Yeah, that’ll get some double taps.
But as strong as our desire to take photos at events like concerts is, we also have a pretty strong desire to make fun of people taking photos at concerts.
“Why don’t you just live in the moment, dude? Put the iPhone down.”
And it’s a fair point. It would seem that spending your time peeping through the lens of a camera or at the screen on your smartphone would detract from the real-life experience.
Not so, says a study by a team of researchers from the University of Southern California, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. In fact, their research points to photography as a factor that can heighten the enjoyment of an event.
“Across 3 field and 6 lab experiments, we find that taking photos enhances enjoyment of positive experiences across a range of contexts and methodologies,” reads the study.
Two groups of subjects, one with cameras and the other without, were asked to take a bus tour, eat in a food court, visit a museum and participate in various other activities while recording their level of enjoyment. The results suggested that those who were busy snapping photos were actually having a better time.
The reason snapping photos adds to the moment? It increases intention and engagement—which, incidentally, is exactly what’s going to happen to your Instagram account when you post that epic photo of your favourite band.
But before you go fusing your selfie stick to your arm, know that there are situations that won’t be better behind the lens. According to the study, depending on the level and type of natural engagement going on, photography may detract from the experience. High intensity sports games, for example, tend to be less enjoyable from behind a screen. The same may be true for your child’s recital–your raw love and pride for your child is enough stimulation for that particular situation. You may still want to capture her solo, so look over the camera, not through it.
But as for the concert, or that hipster eatery you’ve been dying to try, go ahead and bring out your camera. And as you reach for your smartphone to snap a bit of social media fodder, know that you’ve been totally validated by science.