Friday, January 24, 2020

Brain Forgetfulness

I am quite sure I’ve heard you talk about brain forgetfulness in one of your presentations but I have “forgotten” what you said. Please remind me—it’s about going into the next room and don’t remember why you went there! I fear I getting Alzheimer’s!

You remembered to write and ask the question! Forgetting what you went into the next room or upstairs or in the garage to get can happen at any age. For years this puzzled researchers. Recently, studies at the University of Notre Dame have shed some light on this common complaint. Turns out the brain has an “event boundary,” meaning that when something changes (e.g., walking through a doorway into another room), the brain erases the last event and gets ready to experience something new. So what do you do? Write a sticky note and carry it with you or “speak a note” into your phone – especially if it is something you need to do but not immediately. When you get where you are going, this can refresh your mind. If I am just going into the next room for something, I  find that simply talking aloud to myself as I pass through the doorway(s), works quite well. I’ll say, “Arlene, you are getting your suitcase from the garage.” This keeps what you want to do in the forefront of working memory—as long as you keep from getting sidetracked along the way and putting something new and different into your working memory—you’ve got a good chance of staying focused on what you are looking for. Try it. It’s actually rather fun!

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