Capturing And Sharing Photos Can Boost Positive Feelings

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Capturing And Sharing Photos Can Boost Positive Feelings
For a recent "positive computing" study by informatics researchers at UCI, subjects were asked to smile and snap a selfie with their smartphone every day for three weeks. Credit: Steve Zylius / UCI

A new study proves that regularly capturing and sharing photos from a smartphone can make you happy. According to new research, capturing and sharing photos to your friends can boost your positive feelings. Scientists from the University of California, Irvine have conducted this research.

Scientists found that the students can conflict the blues with some simple, intentional actions on their mobile devices. The major goal of the study was to help researchers to understand the effects of photo taking on well-being in three areas.

  1. Self-perception
  2. Self-efficacy
  3. Pro-social

In self-perception, people manipulate positive facial expressions. Self-efficacy, in which people did things to make themselves happy and in pro-social, in which people did things to make others happy.

Scientists conducted this study by instructing the user’s to perform exercise via smartphone photo technology. They then detect user’s psychological and emotional states. Scientists then found that the daily taking and sharing of certain types of images can positively affect people. That means, practicing exercises via smartphone picture taking and sharing, promote happiness. It also causes increased positive feelings for those who engage in it.

Yu Chen, research lead author said, “This is particularly useful information for returning college students to be aware. Although, they face many sources of pressure. The stressors, for example – financial difficulties, being away from home, loneliness, and the rigors of coursework, can negatively impact students’ academic performance and lead to depression.”

“But the good news is that most of the college students constantly carries their mobile, which can be used for stress relief. Additionally, various applications and social media tools are there for capturing and sharing photos,” she continues.

Chen and her team conducted a 4-week study. They involve 41 college students as participants in it. The subjects: 28 female and 13 male were instructed to continue their daily activities while taking part in the research.

Research involves three types of photos. This will help scientists to determine how smiling, reflecting and giving to others might impact users’ moods. The first was a selfie, to be taken daily while smiling. The second was an image of something that made the photo taker happy. The third was a picture of something the photographer believed would bring happiness to another person. Participants randomly assigned to take photos of one type.

Read: 9 amazing motives to smile more!

Each student was then invited to the informatics lab for an informal interview. They instruct to fill a general questionnaire and consent form. The scientists helped students load a survey app onto their phones to document their moods during the first “control” week of the study. Different participants use different apps to take photos and record their emotional states over the following three-week arbitration phase.

According to subjects: their moods three times a day using the smartphone apps. In evening surveys, participants were asked to provide details of any significant events that may have affected their emotions during the course of the day.

During research, scientists have collected almost 2900 mood measurements. They then found that subjects in all three groups experienced increased positive moods. Participants in selfie group tend to be as more confident and comfortable with their smiling photos over time. Photos of objects made participants happy, reflective and appreciative. And participants who took photos to make others happy became calmer. Meanwhile, the connection to their friends and family helped relieve stress.

Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics, said, “You see various reports in the media about the negative impacts of technology use. We look very carefully at these issues here at UCI. But there are various efforts over the past decade to analyze ‘positive computing. I think this study shows that sometimes our gadgets can offer benefits to users.”