If you’re the kind of bloke who gets his rocks off by posting a #legday video on Instagram, or perhaps a mirror selfie or two then it will come as no surprise that taking Insta-worthy photos has been scientifically proven to increase happiness.
Researchers at University of Southern California Marshall School of Business conducted several experiments to observe if taking photos in different situations had any effect on how much the participants enjoyed each activity. Activities included a sightseeing tour, walking through a museum and eating lunch during which some participants were permitted to take photos, while others were not.
The researchers found that those who took photos were more engaged and immersed in the activity, and reported that they genuinely enjoyed the experiences more than their camera-less comrades. “We find that taking photos enhances enjoyment of positive experiences across a range of contexts and methodologies,” the authors state in the study, aptly titled ‘How Taking Photos Increases Enjoyment of Experiences.’
They also discovered that the real enjoyment comes from all the steps that happen before you take a photo, meaning that with a camera in hand you tend to observe the world differently than without. “You’re looking for things you want to capture, that you may want to hang onto,” researcher Kristin Diehl told TIME. “That gets people more engaged in the experience, and they tend to enjoy it more.”
When you’re taking a photo you tend to look for things longer and more intently. Perhaps the ‘Foodstagrammers’ of this world who spend hours trying to get the right angle of their lunch before they eat it are onto something.