In the UK, two-thirds of the population own a smartphone which means cameras are everywhere in our society. With how portable and accessible a phone is, you’re only seconds away from reaching into your pocket and capturing the moment. Due to this many would argue that our memories and experiences of events are being ruined. We are too busy trying to capture the perfect shot for when we look back on the moment, that we are not really focusing on enjoying the moment itself.
This experiment will explore how the inclusion of technology affects the engagment and spatial presence of a particpant during an event.


H0 - "using technology will positively impact the engagement and spatial presence of an experience"
Ha - "using technology will negatively impact the engagement and spatial presence of an experience"


42 participants were recruited to visit two galleries ("Making It" and "Explore") of the National Museum of Scotland, in Edinburgh. Both galleries were based on engineering however "Making It" had more of a focus into manufacturing whereas "Explore" focused more on the scientific side of engineering.
Half of participants visited "Making it" first and the other half visited "Explore" first. After spending time in each gallery, the participants then visited the other. They were asked to spend time in the first gallery without using their smartphones by interacting with the features within it. When this was completed they would then visit the second gallery; however, this time were asked to take photographs/videos and capture the experience through the cameras of their smartphones.


Table 1
t-Test: Paired Two Sample for Means

Engagement Spatial Presence
Without Technology With Technology Without Technology With Technology
Mean 5.63 3.98 5.06 3.71
Variance 0.03 0.04 0.87 0.36
Observations 6 6 7 7
Pearson Correlation 0.33 0.84
Hypothesized Mean Difference 0 0
df 5 5
t Stat 18.33 6.57
P(T<=t) one-tail <0.001 <0.001
t Critical one-tail 2.02 1.94
P(T<=t) two-tail <0.001 <0.001
t Critical two-tail 2.57 2.45

As displayed in the t-Test, there was a significant difference in the scores for engagement without technology (M=5.63) and engagement with technology (M=3.98); t(5)=18.33, p < 0.001. There was also a significant difference in the scores for spatial presence without technology (M=5.06) and spatial presence with technology (M=3.71);t(5)=6.57, p <0.001.

These results mean that we can reject the null hypothesis of "using technology will positively impact the engagement and spatial presence of an experience" and accept the alternative of "using technology will negatively impact the engagement and spatial presence of an experience".


This experiment has proved that a user’s engagement level and spatial presence definitely have a relationship with the inclusion of technology. When looking through a camera lens we are not giving our full attention as we are dividing it between trying to take a perfect photograph and trying to enjoy it. Dr Henkel states that “In order to remember, we have to access and interact with the photos, rather than just amass them” ("No Pictures, Please: Taking Photos May Impede Memory Of Museum Tour"). She believes that through lack of organisation, those who take photos are less likely to go back and reminisce over them. This may have been a factor as to why the final set of data turned out how it did. The participants possibly didn’t bother to look at their photos, causing the memory of them to deteriorate. Another factor as to why the level of engagement and spatial presence scored highly in the gallery without technology was because of how we connected with it. As photos were not to be taken in the first gallery it allowed for participants to interact and play with the exhibit instead of looking at the features through the camera.