Why did I come in here? There’s a reason why you forget.


You’ve probably done this: You walk into the room, look around, and can’t remember why you are there. I call it a senior moment, others might refer to early dementia and bemoan their age and place in life. But there may be a reason and it has nothing to do with your age and everything to do with a hyper efficient brain trying to put everything in its place.

Scientists think that as a person walks through a doorway, the mind closes off the previous activity, files it away and looks for something new in the new surroundings. Gabriel Radvansky, Professor Psychology at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, explains, “Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an ‘event boundary’ in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away. . . Recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different rom is difficult because it has been compartmentalized.”

Radvansky and his colleagues have been exploring this phenomenon and have published their findings in Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. They conducted three experiments hoping to zero in on the effect of the doorway. In the first experiment, the subjects looked at a virtual room, selected an object, went to another virtual room and answered questions. There was some memory loss on entering the second room. For experiment two they used a real room and walked the subjects through a real doorway. Again memory loss occurred. For the final experiment, they had the subjects select and item in one room, walk through a door way and into a hall that led them around and back into the original room. Being in the same room made no difference: memory loss still occurred. “Memory did not improve by reinstating this context,” the report pointed out.

The experiments were done with college age students. Thank you.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology


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