Did you know that the walking-into-the-room-and-forgetting-why-you’re-there feeling is due to your brains way of categorizing memories.
The study consisted of three experiments in which college students performed memory tasks either while changing their location in a room or while exiting a doorway into another room. The lead author, University of Notre Dame psychology professor Gabriel Radvansky, found that students forgot more when walking through a doorway than when they just moved across the room.
Radvansky suggests that doorways create a sort of “event boundary” and prevent us from being able to retrieve thoughts and decisions we, ironically, likely left in the previous room.
This isn’t the first study in this area. Previous research has shown that environment can affect memory and that we are better at accessing information we have learned if we try to retrieve it in the same social context. Guess that means it’s a good thing that most of us work in the same office every day. Otherwise, our jobs might be a lot more taxing on our memories.