Want to Remember Your Vacation? Take Fewer Photos

iStock
iStock

Technology isn't always good for your memory. Overusing map apps can alter our navigational skills. Information overload can make us forgetful. Most of us treat Google like an external hard drive for information we might have once committed to memory. And all those selfies and picturesque vistas we photograph on vacation might be affecting how we remember the trip, according to a new study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology spotted by Vox.

In three different tests, a group of psychologists asked participants to record and/or share media while taking self-guided tours.

In one tour, 132 people were asked to explore a church on Stanford University's campus and either take at least five photos for themselves, take photos to post on Facebook, or take no photos at all. A week or two after they took the self-guided tour using a university brochure as a guide, they took a memory test about the details of what they saw. The researchers found that taking photos impaired how well people remembered the church, whether they were taking photos for themselves or to share on social media.

In another test, 238 participants took the same church tour, but did so in pairs instead of alone. Most didn't know their partners before the study. The pairs weren't allowed to talk to each other, and in each pair, the participants were part of different groups—in some, one participant was supposed to take photos for personal use while the other wasn't supposed to take photos at all; in others, one participant was supposed to share photos to Facebook and one was in the no-photo condition; and in still others, both partners were in the no-photo group. Again, the researchers found that taking photos negatively affected people's memories of the experience in a follow-up survey several days later.

Crucially, in both tests, taking photos didn't alter how much people enjoyed the experience, even if it made them remember less of it. But if the whole point of taking pictures is to remember a moment, it may not be a productive use of your vacation time, even if it does result in a fantastic profile picture.

The researchers conclude that recording an experience "may prevent people from remembering the very events they are attempting to preserve." Their study ends on a dark note: "Ironically, our results suggest that using media to preserve these moments may prevent people from fully experiencing them in the first place." At least you'll still have fun, though.

[h/t Vox]

Spending a Lot On Books? This Browser Extension Tells You if They’re Available at Your Local Library

artisteer/iStock via Getty Images
artisteer/iStock via Getty Images

If your battle-worn bookcase is groaning under the weight of all the books you've bought online, let us introduce you to a delightful browser extension that you didn’t know you needed.

As CNET reports, Library Extension is a free way to automatically see if the book you’re about to purchase can be checked out from a library (or libraries) near you. After you install it here—for either Chrome or Firefox—click on the tiny stack of books that appears next to your search bar, and choose your state and public libraries from the dropdown menu. Then, search for a book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Audible, or Google Books, and a box along the right side of your window will tell you how many copies are available. It also works on Goodreads, so you don’t even have to be committed to buying your next great read for it to come in handy.

If you’re not picky about book formats, you can add digital catalogs from platforms like OverDrive, Hoopla, and Cloud Library in your extension preferences, and your results will list e-book and audiobook copies among the physical ones. Once you’ve found something you’d like to check out, just click “borrow” and the extension will deliver you straight to its corresponding page on the library’s website.

For veteran library patrons, navigating various catalogs to find the perfect novel might seem simple—or even a little like hunting for treasure—but it can overwhelm a novice borrower and make them stick to one-click purchasing on familiar e-commerce sites. Library Extension takes the confusion out of the process, and gives you the opportunity to save some money, too.

Though the extension will only show you books, they’re not the only things you could be borrowing—here are 11 unexpected items you might be able to check out from your local library.

[h/t CNET]

The 20 Best States to Retire in 2020

Robert Clay Reed/iStock via Getty Images
Robert Clay Reed/iStock via Getty Images

Spending your workdays dreaming of retirement? It’s the ultimate goal of any longtime office-dweller, but figuring out when you’re ready to finally take the plunge is one of many questions aspiring retirees need to ask themselves before quitting the 9-to-5 grind for good. Determining where to retire is equally important, as you’ll need to think not just about affordability, but quality of life and health care as well.

Personal finance website WalletHub crunched the numbers on all 50 states to come up with an official ranking on the best (and worst) states to retire. Their experts looked at 47 different factors and enlisted the help of a panel of experts.

Ultimately, it turns out that the idea of retiring to Florida is still very much alive. The Sunshine State took the top spot in the poll, largely because of its affordability (it came in second in that category overall, with only Alabama besting it). But spending your golden years on a beach somewhere doesn’t seem to be for everyone; while Colorado and New Hampshire certainly have their warm-weather seasons, they also accumulate plenty of snow each year—which didn’t seem to matter as they clinched the second and third positions on the list, respectively. Here are the 20 best states to retire:

  1. Florida
  2. Colorado
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Utah
  5. Wyoming
  6. Delaware
  7. Virginia
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Idaho
  10. Iowa
  11. South Dakota
  12. Montana
  13. Pennsylvania
  14. Massachusetts
  15. Ohio
  16. Minnesota
  17. Texas
  18. South Carolina
  19. North Dakota
  20. Missouri

The news was far less happy for Kentucky, which claimed the last spot on the list (followed closely by New Mexico, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and West Virginia).

You can view an interactive version of the map below, and visit WalletHub to see more detailed information on each state’s ranking.

Source: WalletHub

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