There is an explanation to why walking through doorways can make us forget stuff that we were doing. According to Professor Gabriel Radvansky from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, the phenomenon occurs as an “event boundary”, Medical News Today reports.
It must have happened to you, too: wanting to get something from a certain room and when you get there, you forget what you went there for in the first place. It is not early Alzheimer’s, as some may be joking about, nor it is any other serious memory problems. Gabriel Radvansky, a Psychology Proseffor at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, United States, explains the phenomenon in a recent article posted on the University’s website. “Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an ‘event boundary’ in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away”, he says. The compartmentalization of the activities done in different rooms makes it difficult to remember what we were doing before entering the new room.
The “event boundary” is a subject Prof. Radvansky is currently exploring. Together with his team, he has published several articles on the matter. Their latest study was published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. Previous studies have proven that there is a location-updating effect which translates through a slight memory decline, when people are changing location, from one room to another. What Prof. Radvansky is trying to find out is the degree in which the environment influences the memory decline.
Until now, it was proven that:
– Distance has nothing to do with memory decline: people deciding upon an activity in one room and then moving in the room for a certain distance had no memory impairment; those deciding upon an activity and walking the same distance but stepping out of the room suffered a memory decline.
– Memory impairment occurs both in real and virtual rooms
– If a person decides upon an activity in one room, the passes through other rooms, ending up in the first room, the original room does not have any influence on the memory decline suffered when leaving it in the first place.