Don’t you HATE that?
You set off to get something and by the time you reach where it is, you’ve forgotten what it was!
Is it an ‘old age’ thing?
Dr Gabriel Radvansky, professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame, says:
“When you go from room to room, your brain identifies each room as a new event and sets a new memory trace to capture the new event.”
So it’s going through a doorway that is causing the problem!
Radvansky’s team conducted memory experiments on college students in virtual and real-world rooms, some with doors, some without.He found that the students forgot more after walking through a doorway compared with moving the same distance across a room, no matter whether the door was a real one or a virtual one.
The door became an “event boundary”. The memory traces for the activity was stored according to where it happened.
“Recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different room is difficult because it has been compartmentalized,” Radvansky said.
So what can you do?
- keep firmly focused on the task you are carrying out. Avoid getting distracted.
- carry an object that reminds you of what you need to do e.g. if you go into another room for a pair of scissors, carry the object you want to cut or hold your fingers in a scissor shape.
- or, using the time-tested method, go back to where you started!
Want to read the full study?
For other practical solutions to everyday memory lapses, get your own handy guidebook 7-Day Brain Boost Plan from Dr Lamont & Gillian Eadie