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Ralf Jurrien : May 29th 2007 - 22:49 CET

Survey warns the nation of long term memory loss

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FujifilmSurvey warns the nation of long term memory loss : In research independently commissioned by the company, 63% of digital camera owners risk losing a lifetime of memories as they opt for saving images on a computer or printing images using an inkjet printer at the expense of obtaining true quality prints. For the 39% of those surveyed who rely on storing images on a PC there comes a strong warning from computer experts who pinpoint the potential risk of hardware failure and data loss. Computer consultant Adam Olliffe, MCSE says: "The hard drive is a mechanical device prone to failure. Technology over recent years has concentrated on squeezing more and more data onto the same disk surface area."
Survey warns the nation of long term memory lossSurvey warns for Memory loss
Adam Olliffe added: "When it does fail all data is then lost with no chance of retrieval. Businesses will always consider data backup as a crucial part of their IT infrastructure, however most home users will not address this issue until it is too late." Alarmingly, 81% of those who regularly saved images on a PC did not have any form of back-up. A further concern is for the 24% of those surveyed who print images using an inkjet printer.

Wilhelm research company
According to the Wilhelm Research Company the problem with earlier inkjet printer models was that printed images faded rapidly, in as much as 6 weeks under adverse conditions. Despite improvement in the quality of printers there is still cause for concern. "Papers are usually matched to particular manufacturers' inks set to optimise drying times and ink spread," says FujiFilm's spokesperson, Darren Peake. "A mismatch of paper and ink can lead to premature image deterioration. Longevity will also depend on storage, heat, light, and humidity." According to the survey only 10% of digital camera owners use high street stores to obtain images, a figure which surprises Fujifilm particularly when the research reveals that 59% know that a conventional print lasts longer than other options.

Prints from photo labs - Memory loss
"Despite availability of obtaining true prints from photo labs - even to the extent where we have created user friendly imaging kiosks nationwide in major high street stores - this survey indicates that the majority of digital camera owners like the convenience of instant prints and images but are unaware that they are putting their long term memories in jeopardy, " says Peake. "In ten years time - in some cases sooner - they may not have images of their first baby, wedding or special birthday. "You have to go back to the key reason why people take photographs - a way to keep a memory or special moment alive. A true print, which is made out of crystal archive paper, ensures that memories both visually and spiritually will last a lifetime."

Survey warns for long term memory loss
It's a view shared by cognitive experts who stress the importance of images to maintain long term memory of a special moment or event. Glyn Humphreys, Professor of Cognitive Psychology at The University of Birmingham's Behavioural Brain Sciences Centre says: "Memories are stored in the temporal lobes at the side of the brain."When an image is re-presented - a photograph of a special moment for example - it triggers other associations, such as sounds, context and other co-occurring events - that are laid down in the temporal lobes at the same time as the image. Photographs are very important for triggering the thousands of unconscious memories we hold; without them memories of a specific event will fade.

Photograph memories
"The memories laid down in our temporal lobes can be 'released' by a photograph, but otherwise it needs to be retrieved using structures in the frontal lobes. As we age, our ability to retrieve information through these frontal lobe structures tends to deteriorate, making us ever more reliant on the release of memories via external triggers. Photographs become ever more important for that reason." The importance of photographs is further supported by Donna Dawson, a psychologist who specialises in personality and behaviour, who believes that a picture is worth more than a thousand words because of the memories and the associated emotions that it evokes. Donna comments: "Nothing you can think of can encapsulate a special moment as well as a photograph. "Photographs are the visual link to our past, and there is power in their accumulation. There is nothing like the tangible pleasure of holding a photo album in your hands and taking a trip back in time, sharing your memories and feelings with others as you do so. It is also a tremendous re-learning experience about your own life and the lives of loved ones."

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