Thursday, October 25, 2012

Doorways and Forgetting

Have you ever entered a room and forgot what you were going to get or do in that room? Professor Gabriel Radvansky, Psychology Professor at University of Notre Dame, reported new research on this problem. According to Radvansky, “Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an ‘event boundary’ in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away.” Using college students as subjects, three experiments in both real and virtual environments were conducted. Subjects performed memory tasks while crossing a room and while exiting a doorway. Results showed that subjects forgot more after walking through a doorway compared to moving the same distance across a room, suggesting that the doorway or “event boundary” impedes one’s ability to retrieve thoughts or decisions made in a different room. As you pass through a doorway, say aloud what you want to do or find in the next room. That might help your brain to keep the goal in short-term working memory.

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