Tag Archives: Cell Phones

Taking photos affects memory

14 Jul

Taking a cell phone photograph in a convenient way to store information for later retrieval. Many people take photos to remember their parking places and I have, on occasion, photographed the cover of a book in a library, so that I could order a copy later. But but does taking pictures affect a memory?

Yes, says a paper in the most recent Psychological Science.  It seems to improve our visual memory for specific information, but degrades our audio memory. Here is the abstract:

How does volitional photo taking affect unaided memory for visual and auditory aspects of experiences? Across one field and three lab studies, we found that, even without revisiting any photos, participants who could freely take photographs during an experience recognized more of what they saw and less of what they heard, compared with those who could not take any photographs. Further, merely taking mental photos had similar effects on memory. These results provide support for the idea that photo taking induces a shift in attention toward visual aspects and away from auditory aspects of an experience. Additional findings were in line with this mechanism: Participants with a camera had better recognition of aspects of the scene that they photographed than of aspects they did not photograph. Furthermore, participants who used a camera during their experience recognized even nonphotographed aspects better than participants without a camera did. Meta-analyses including all reported studies support these findings.

 

Texting during class disrupts comprehension

3 Jan

Spring semester starts soon and I have been busy preparing the syllabi for my classes. One issue that has become an increasing problem is students texting during class and I have been thinking about what to say in the syllabus.

By some weird synchronicity my copy of the journal Teaching Psychology arrived today. It included an article titled: “OMG! Texting in Class = U Fail 😦 Empirical Evidence That Text Messaging During Class Disrupts Comprehension.” Here is the abstract:

“In two experiments, we examined the effects of text messaging during lecture on comprehension of lecture material. Students (in Experiment 1) and randomly assigned participants (in Experiment 2) in a text message condition texted a prescribed conversation while listening to a brief lecture. Students and participants in the no-text condition refrained from texting during the same lecture. Postlecture quiz scores confirmed the hypothesis that texting during lecture would disrupt comprehension and retention of lecture material. In both experiments, the no-text group significantly outscored the text group on the quiz and felt more confident about their performance. The classroom demonstration described in Experiment 1 provides preliminary empirical evidence that texting during class disrupts comprehension in an actual classroom environment. Experiment 2 addressed the selection bias and demand characteristic issues present in Experiment 1 and replicated the main findings. Together, these two experiments clearly illustrate the detrimental effects of texting during class, which could discourage such behavior in students.”

Here is the rule I am thinking of adding to my syllabus:

The use of laptops, phones, texting devices, and other electronic equipment is not allowed in class without the permission of the instructor. All cell phone and similar devices must be silenced and put away. You may not have a phone on your desk or visible during class

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