Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Memory Door Myth...!

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one this happens to!

Somehow I feel vindicated a tad, ya know? All this time I figured it was just me. See? I told ya I wasn't going crazy. No Dementia just yet!

Walking Through The Door Really Is Making You Forget Things
By Debra Kelly on Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It’s called the doorway effect, and it’s what happens when you walk into a room and completely forget why you’re there in the first place. Work from a handful of different researchers has been pieced together to help explain what’s going on. It’s likely that the parts of our brain that we rely on to process navigational and spatial information are regularly wiped of information when it’s no longer relevant. Walking through a door is a good indication that our environment is now different, and old information gets dumped in favor of new surroundings.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all walked into a room and completely forgotten why we’re there. We’ve probably all wondered, too, if it was a sign of old age sneaking up on us. Thankfully, it isn’t (necessarily). There’s a scientific explanation for forgetting why we’ve gone into a certain room, and it’s actually stranger than old age.

It’s called the doorway effect, and it seems to be quite real. To really explain what it is and how it works, we have to back up a bit to work done by researchers from University College London and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

They were looking into how our brains process information about where we are in the world and what’s around us. That includes everything from navigating your morning commute to recognizing your own desk in a row of a dozen desks.

It all comes down to specific cells in the bran called grid cells and pyramidal place cells. When the neurons in our brain fire, they create very specific patterns based on what’s around us. That’s translated into what the researchers described as a sort of internal GPS system, which allows us to not only keep track of where we are at the moment, but likely play a part in letting us figure out how to navigate from A to B.

For some reason, walking through a doorway interrupts the brain’s ability to do what it does best.

Navigational memory is an odd sort of memory. It’s thought that in order to keep processing, the information that’s stored in these systems wipes itself every once in a while. (Have you ever gotten home from work with little to no memory of what happened on your uneventful commute?) Old information leaves, and new information about our current environment replaces it.

Researchers from Notre Dame looked at just what kind of impact doors had, and they think that it’s likely our brains use doorways as a sort of cue that it’s a good time to wipe memory because we’re entering into a new environment.

Weirdly, it’s not just real-life doorways, either. The team from Notre Dame ran some studies on the memory skills of people who were running through a video game setting. They were tasked with picking up an object from a table, then going into another room and putting it down on another table. The object became invisible after being picked up. As soon as people stepped through the virtual door, they were much less likely to remember what it was they were holding than if they went from table to table with no doorway in between.

Going back into the original rooms doesn’t usually help people remember, until they see something that refreshes the situation, getting rid of the theory that it’s a contextual thing.

Walking though a doorway seems to quite literally cause us to glitch—along with other interruptions like a phone ringing or someone interrupting our thoughts. A system that’s likely built to help us streamline our thinking has a design flaw: the door.

I'm glad the folks over at Knowledgenuts cleared this all up for me! Kinda like an after Christmas present, ya know?

Coffee back on the patio this morning! Good coffee and warm temps!

12 comments:

deborah harvey said...

well, thank you. it crossed what is left of my mind that it might be the beginnings of alzheimer's disease.
thanks.maybe our ancestors had fewer doorways?

Chickenmom said...

Ha - I'll walk backwards through 'em from now on! I'll bring apple pie!

JO said...

so happy to have that cleared up. Like you I thought it was aging too. Like Chickenmom I think I will try the backwards thing.

Patio sounds wonderful for coffee at your place. We are only suposed to get up to 46 today.

HermitJim said...

Hey Deborah...
Looks like you and I can stop worrying about it, right? One more good bit of information to try and remember.
Hey, thanks for stopping by today!


Hey Phyllis...
Now that sounds like it might work to me. I'll give it a shot!
Thanks so much for coming by to day and apple pie is always good!

Momlady said...

Whew! Thought it might be my age. Sometimes words escape me, too. Usually the person I'm with can fill in the blank. Take care of yourself. I and mine hope you have a good new year.

HermitJim said...

Hey Momlady...
Nice to find out that some research works in favor of those of us that are getting a tad older, right?
Thanks so much for coming by today!

linda m said...

Thank goodness you filled me in on what is going on. Here I thought I was going senile. It's nice to also know I'm not the only one this happens to.

JMD said...

In an odd way this somehow comforts me. :-)

Rob said...

I thought it was just me! THANK YOU of that one!!

I'm down by Quartzsite, not warm (yet) & really windy, your place for coffee sounds great..

Dizzy-Dick said...

Just think, the Native Americans that lived on the open prairie or in the eastern woods, must have remembered everything. . . dang!!

Janet said...

Your comments about doors and how they affect the brain reminded of Dr. Temple Grandin who is an world renowned engineer. She is autistic and has used her autism to her advantage. She sees in pictures and also has a special awareness of how animals see things. She discovered that walking through a door or climbing through a window enabled her to close a door to the past and open her up to the next phase of her life. So I guess going through doors can sometimes be advantageous.

Sixbears said...

I'd better avoid doors at all costs as I'm forgetting enough stuff as it is.