Media usage diminishes memory for experiences

Diana I. Tamir, Emma M. Templeton, Adrian F. Ward, Jamil Zaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


People increasingly use social media to record and share their experiences, but it is unclear whether or how social media use changes those experiences. Here we present both naturalistic and controlled studies in which participants engage in an experience while using media to record or share their experiences with others, or not engaging with media. We collected objective measures of participants' experiences (scores on a surprise memory test) as well as subjective measures of participants' experiences (self-reports about their engagement and enjoyment). Across three studies, participants without media consistently remembered their experience more precisely than participants who used media. There is no conclusive evidence that media use impacted subjective measures of experience. Together, these findings suggest that using media may prevent people from remembering the very events they are attempting to preserve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-168
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
StatePublished - May 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Engagement
  • Enjoyment
  • Media
  • Memory
  • Pictures
  • Sharing


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