The Doorway Effect: Why your brain won’t let you remember what you were doing before you came in here
I work in a lab, and the way our lab is set up, there are two adjacent rooms, connected by both an outer hallway and an inner doorway. I do most of my work on one side, but every time I walk over to the other side to grab a reagent or a box of tips, I completely forget what I was after. This leads to a lot of me standing with one hand on the freezer door and grumbling, “What the hell was I doing?” It got to where all I had to say was “Every damn time” and my labmate would laugh. Finally, when I explained to our new labmate why I was standing next to his bench with a glazed look in my eyes, he was able to shed some light. “Oh, yeah, that’s a well-documented phenomenon,” he said. “Doorways wipe your memory.”
Being the gung-ho new science blogger that I am, I decided to investigate. And it’s true! Well, doorways don’t literally wipe your memory. But they do encourage your brain to dump whatever it was working on before and get ready to do something new. In one study, participants played a video game in which they had to carry an object either across a room or into a new room. Then they were given a quiz. Participants who passed through a doorway had more trouble remembering what they were doing. It didn’t matter if the video game display was made smaller and less immersive, or if the participants performed the same task in an actual room—the results were similar. Returning to the room where they had begun the task didn’t help: even context didn’t serve to jog folks’ memories.
The researchers wrote that their results are consistent with what they call an “event model” of memory. They say the brain keeps some information ready to go at all times, but it can’t hold on to everything. So it takes advantage of what the researchers called an “event boundary,” like a doorway into a new room, to dump the old info and start over. Apparently my brain doesn’t care that my timer has seconds to go—if I have to go into the other room, I’m doing something new, and can’t remember that my previous task was antibody, idiot, you needed antibody.
I finally learned why I completely space when I cross to the other side of the lab, and that I’m apparently not alone.
this is actually kind of great and it’s nice to know there’s something behind that constant spacing out whenever i enter a different place
FINALLY AN EXPLANATION
Woking (ptcpl. vb.): Standing in the kitchen wondering what you came in here for.
- Douglas Adams, The Meaning of Liff
I told my mom I didn’t wanna go to the store with her
how i survived high school.
because people are still asking that question
because women are payed less than men in approximately 99% of professions
because chris brown can still have a career after assaulting rihanna but miley cyrus takes her clothes off and there’s a huge scandal
because of this:
because currently it is estimated ten million more girls are out of education than boys (x)
because we’re expected to be mature but hairless like a child, in control but not bossy, sexy but not slutty and definitely not a prude, intelligent but not opinionated, independent but reliant on men, natural but look like the girl in the magazine etc etc
because being called a girl, a pussy or a bitch is an insult
because when i told my mum i refused to get anything less than a’s in my exams she told me it wasn’t ladylike to be so cocky
because my brother and 90% of my male friends think girls who wear revealing clothing are asking for rape
because every person who identifies as female should be allowed to choose if they want to get married, have kids, have a career, go to uni etc etc without expectations
because tampons and sanitary pads are stupidly expensive
because some people reading this will have flinched at the fact i just said ‘tampon’
because there are men out there whose job it is to make young girls feel like absolute shit about themselves just so they can sell the next best beauty product
because female masturbation isn’t considered normal whilst men can talk about their own penises for hours on end
because feminists are still seen as crazy lesbians who dont shave and some still feel like they have to defend themselves by claiming theyre not any of those things when in fact if i want to be a passionate lady who likes other ladies and cant be bothered to shave my legs every twenty minutes then thats my choice and if i want to be someone who wears make up and shaves and goes out partying then thats my choice and if i want to be a combination of the two or anything in between then thats. my. choice.
because i believe anyone who identifies as female is fucking badass and deserves the same rights as every privileged stuck up old white man sitting around and making laws about our bodies
because how can you not be