Lonely Planet Writer

No more selfie guilt! New study says your Instagram habit is all good

If you ever feel guilty for the amount of time you spend looking at the world through your phone’s camera lens or uploading to Instagram, a new study says you perhaps shouldn’t because stopping to take a picture when experiencing something new may enhance the experience for you.

Group of smiling teenage friends taking selfie with smartphone and monopod with Coliseum ruins in background.
Group of smiling teenage friends taking selfie with smartphone and monopod with Colosseum ruins in background.

New research in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology says that pausing for a pic means you could be taking more from the moment than if you’d just walked on by. Scientists from University of Pennsylvania, the University of Southern California and Yale University studied more than 2000 people undertaking tasks like eating lunch, watching a concert and walking through a museum. Each time, half of the group took pictures while the others didn’t and then they answered some questions about how much fun they’d had.

More often than not, the scientists found that those who took photographs had a better time, and were more attentive towards their subjects.

So you shouldn’t feel bad about whipping out your camera at points of interest around the world. Perhaps living in the moment at gigs is one thing, and stopping to shoot a selfie from a tour bus is another – either way, a photograph is a moment captured in time and a memory preserved. Happy snapping!