Doors cause memory loss?


| 4 Comments
An article says that passing through a doorway into another room actually can cause a person to forget things.  The example used in the study is that when someone leaves a room to go to the kitchen to get food, the frequently forget what they went into the room for.  In the study performed by the University of Notre Dame, they had participants walk across the room and try to perform memory tasks, then do the same when walking through a doorway into another room.  When they did this, the results showed a significant decrease in basic memory.  They believe that the brain categorizes rooms into "episodes" and once the room is left it becomes harder to access the information from the previous episode.

This is an interested revelation, but it would be more interesting to find out why this happens.  If they could find a reason the brain does this, it could be possible to not only solve the problem, but gain a greater understanding for how the brain processes memory as a whole.  Doing so could actually unlock an answer to people that suffer from more serious amnesia, such as dementia.

4 Comments

It is kind of funny that this has been tested. It has happen to me millions of times, but I did not know it was something linked to the action of passing through a door.
I also found an article that wanted to test if this was an boundary event or if it the memory loss was actually linked to the environment, after doing the test they concluded it was not the environment because after going through multiple doors and end up in the the one the decision was going to be made, memory was still lost.

Perhaps this is just speculation, but being in the environment when you first were thinking of something makes it easier to remember. I feel as though the brain "logs" the environment with a thought. When the environment is changed, the thought that was "logged" with the environment is harder to remember. For instance, think of a dance. You could do the dance over and over in the same room, and have it down to a tee. If you were to switch rooms or the direction you start off in, you often forget parts of the dance. This was the case I noticed in my Homecoming performance. We were unable to perform the dance as well facing the opposite end of the room, after practicing for weeks. What we did was practice the dance in different environments after this incident, and we perfected the dance. So maybe the question to this is to come up with the thought in different environments, therefore it will be further engrained in your head.

Very interesting! I would have never thought in a million years anyone, let alone a top University, would perform a study on this. I always just never put much thought into it. It happened and continues to happen to me on a weekly basis. I guess I have always just thought of it as a fact of life; something we all must learn to deal with.

But what do you guys think the significance of this study could be? Shaun bring up a very good point: What could it lead to?

I heard about this recently and I tried to pay attention to if it happened to myself...it kind of makes sense! I feel like changing rooms probably causes an intense sensory overload.. all the new things to look at, hear, and smell, the change in light and physical movement may cause disorientation and make it easier to lose track of your thought. interesting post for sure

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