Abandon Memory All Ye Who Enter Here: Study Finds Doorways Cause Forgetfulness

There is an interesting study out by University of Notre Dame Psychology Professor Gabriel Radvansky, which appears to show that one of the causes of forgetfulness may be doorways. Radvansky’s study shows that “entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an ‘event boundary’ in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away.” Does this mean that we need a type of psychological feng shui movement with homes built with fewer doorways?

The study in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology explains that “recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different room is difficult because it has been compartmentalized.” The study used college students who moved from virtual rooms to virtual rooms while trying to remember objects.

That would suggest that, if you want to remember that last thing on your to-do list, you might want to stop before going into the next room or live in a wigwam. For my part, it is reassuring. I can now tell my wife it is not my age but those blasted doorways that are the reason I forgot half of the items on the shopping list.

Source: News Info as first seen on Reddit.

13 thoughts on “Abandon Memory All Ye Who Enter Here: Study Finds Doorways Cause Forgetfulness”

  1. Makes sense….I think maybe refining this to which side of the doorway you need to reenter….

  2. eniobob,

    Grappling with a huge turkey and decided to take a break here in my son-in-law’s home office … thank you for the hearty, out loud, scare the cat laugh! Now back to whatever it was I was doing.

  3. I completely concur with the plausability of doorways causing forgetfullness. I purposely removed all my divorce documents from my office and placed them in a file cabinet in my garage. It was the first night I slept well in years. My office was near my bedroom.
    When I had to go into my garage months later I literally had a stroke. The abusive, toxic memories came flooding back and I called 911.
    Doorways are my physical means of compartimentalizing things. My childens’ bedroom doors open gateways of opportunity, study, trophies, …all positive things. I feel good when I go into the kids’ rooms.
    I am only 45. Yet I have black-outs and strokes, invoked by severe PTSD reminders/triggers.
    MY forgetfullness has become a family joke, however my mind is clear when I am in my charming bedroom, and if I place flowers next to my bed it reminds me of how beautiful life can be. Positive memories come flooding back.
    When I go into the garage with all the toxic materials. My mind literally shuts down. HARD. Sometimes, it takes days to remember small childhood events that have been imbedded in my brain for decades. The doorway to my garage is a doorway to black-outs.
    You are completely right. I would love to work with you as a case study on this issue to prove to others how important it is to understand your surroundings.
    Even more interesting, the minute I step through my mother’s front entry way, my back goes into spasm. My body is remembering something that happened to me which was so horrific my mind won’t allow me to access it.

    Out of time. would love to take more

  4. mespo,

    This phenomena works better if you smack your head repeatedly on the door frame. Of course I’m not suggesting that you take this course of action, merely informing you of the ways to enhance the effect.

  5. I walked out of plenty of courtroom doors trying to forget what happened in there. Now, I have renewed hope.

  6. A guy was walking down the street and ran into the minister of his church. The reverend noted that the man hadn’t attended services in some time and admonished him that he needed to be thinking about the hereafter. The man assured the minister this was not a problem by say that he often walked into a room and began wondering, “Now, what the heck am I here after?” Rim shot…………………….cymbal crash.

  7. “I can now tell my wife it is not my age but those blasted doorways that are the reason I forgot half of the items on the shopping list.”

    Must write that down before I walk out the door to go outside.

  8. had a weird event this AM. I was trying to remember a bit of trivia that came up in the car pool. For twenty minutes I could not remember the name of a character from a TV show that came up. Then just after I exited the car it came to me just like that! Maybe there is something to this theory.

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