Seeing through New Eyes: An Experimental Investigation of the Benefits of Photography

Jaime L. Kurtz

Abstract


This study examined the affective and cognitive benefits of taking photographs of one’s everyday surroundings. Thirty-eight undergraduate participants were randomly assigned to either take photographs in a mindful, creative way; take photographs in a neutral, factual way; or do a count-your-blessings writing exercise, an activity that is known to reliably increase mood [1]. Planned contrasts revealed that those taking mindful, creative photographs were, on average, in a significantly better mood and were significantly more appreciative and motivated than those taking neutral photographs. There were no significant differences between either photography condition and the writing activity. These results suggest that, when done thoughtfully, photography can be an effective way of improving mood and appreciation of everyday life.

Keywords


Happiness, savoring, appreciation, well-being, emotion, positive psychology.

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ISSN: 1927-5129