Walking Through Doorways Causes You To Forget

You ever get up to do something, walk into another room, and then immediately forget what you were going to do? Don't worry, it's probably not early onset Alzheimer's. Turns out it was the door's fault. Yep. The door.

A new study from Gabriel Radvansky, a professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame, says that "Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an 'event boundary' in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away." Radvansky continues, "Recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different room is difficult because it has been compartmentalised." I'm going to punch a door frame next time I see one.

Through a series of three different tests, Radvansky had subjects perform various memory tasks and then had them either walk through a door into another room, or walk the same distance but stay in the room. They used both simulated environments and real-world situations. In both cases the results showed that passing through doorways diminished subjects' memories.

In a final test Radvansky had them go through several doorways and then return to the original room to test if the memory was simply associated with that room. The subjects showed no improvement, however, which means that it really was all that damn door's fault.

OK, obviously a large measure of scepticism is warranted here. The test subjects were all university students, after all. But seriously, I thought I've been losing my mind lately, so if this study is correct I just need to move into one giant room and I should be OK. Death to doors! [Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology via Medical Xpress]

Image: Shutterstock/Tatiana53

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