Whether you’re scrolling through old college photos on your phone, or with a grandparent flipping through a photo album, the experience of reminiscence through the photographs can instil a sense that things were better back then. They may have been more fun, or care free, or simply just easier, but regardless, they always seem “better.”
What’s often not taken into account in these situations, is that personal photos are often taken during good moments: holidays, parties, and vacations. It becomes easy to forget that things may have been challenging then too. There are likely less photos of bad days, and when flipping through an old album, it may not be clear that there were wars, protests, and personal struggle during those times as well as there are today.
As research as shown, photographs are not necessarily used to revive old memories, but to help construct a recollection of certain events we may have been a part of. This can be a slippery slope however, as photographs can create false memories.12 Though reminiscing over old photos may be a pleasing activity, the act is likely to give a rosy tint to our retrospection.