Walking Through A Doorway Impedes One’s Ability To Retrieve Thoughts Made In A Different Room

Can The Act Of Walking Through A Doorway Cause Forgetfulness?, Brian Roemmele, Quora

The author replies: “Yes, there are studies that are compelling.” He cites this study:

Walking Through Doorways Causes Forgetting: Further Explorations, Quarterly Journal Of Experimental Psychology, August 2011.

Study author:

We found that the subjects forgot more after walking through a doorway [either virtual or real] compared to moving the same distance across a room, suggesting that the doorway or “event boundary” impedes one’s ability to retrieve thoughts or decisions made in a different room.

Also, subjects couldn’t remember what they forgot if they returned to the original room:

Subjects in this leg of the study passed through several doorways, leading back to the room in which they started. The results showed no improvements in memory, suggesting that the act of passing through a doorway serves as a way the mind files away memories.

From the study:

Overall, it is quite clear that memory for recently experienced information is affected by the structure of the surrounding environment.

As Roemmele says, this can be helpful in two ways … Feeling upset? Walk into another room, better yet, walk outside. Want to focus? Stay where you are.

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