Forgetting why you entered a room studied

Nov. 18, 2011 at 7:06 PM

SOUTH BEND, Ind., Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Why we walk through a doorway into a room and forget why we came in, surprisingly, all comes down to walking through the doorway, U.S. psychologists suggests.

Passing through a doorway from one room to another can, by itself, cause these memory lapses, psychology Professor Gabriel Radvansky of the University of Notre Dame said.

"Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an 'event boundary' in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away," he said in a university release Friday.

"Recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different room is difficult because it has been compartmentalized."

In several experiments in both real and virtual environments, subjects forgot more after walking through a doorway compared to moving the same distance across a single room.

That suggests the doorway or "event boundary" impedes one's ability to retrieve thoughts or decisions made in a different room, Radvansky said.

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