Ever since I first heard about it – less than a week ago – it just seems to be getting worse! Or maybe I’m just getting more aware of it?? - ‘What?’ you ask. Room Amnesia! Forgetting things as I go from one room to another. Sometimes also called… er… hmm… Well, you know what I mean, don’t you? Often supposed to be age-related…
BUT – here’s the news: It’s the doorway’s fault!
A team at the University of Notre Dame (USA) have done research on it, putting volunteers through various memory tests. The result shows that it is passing through a doorway that makes us forget.
…when you pass through a doorway, your mind compartmentalizes your actions into separate episodes. Having moved into a new episode, the brain archives the previous one, making it less available for access. It’s as if you slam a mental door…
It does not even have to be a real doorway. It applies to computer games as well.
And contrary to what is sometimes supposed, it does not seem to automatically help memory to go back to the original room either.
I heard about this on the radio last Friday. Not until today did I get round to checking up sources on the internet. You can read more at the Scientific American website.
My flat is not very big, but on the way from my bedroom to my study (or the other way round) I do pass through four doorways. No wonder I keep finding forgotten and unfinished ‘projects’ lying around…!
(Not to mention all the virtual doorways/ windows we bloggers keep popping in and out of!)
On some level I think I already knew. I’ve just been thinking of it the other way round, and as mainly a good thing: That having separate rooms for different activities can be of help to concentrate and not get distracted...