The Real Reason You Walk Into A Room And Forget What You Went In For

If you don’t want to forget why you went in in the first place! [Photo: jaymantri.com via Pexels]

It’s one of life’s little mysteries. The very second you walk into a room, you completely forget why the heck you went in there in the first place. Two seconds ago we knew exactly what we were doing. Now? Nada, zip, diddly squat…you get the idea.

For years we’ve been wondering if it’s yet another downright annoying side effect of getting older. Wrinkles, under-eye bags and getting (even more) forgetful. But apparently science says it’s not our fault.

Until recently, the bods in the know believed our memories were similar to a kind of filing system, with thoughts stored neat and tidily in their own little compartments. So when you wanted to recall a certain memory you could scan your ‘files’ and conjure it up. Simples!

Or not. Because new reports suggest that’s actually not true at all and that the brain is way, way more complicated than that. Scrap the filing cabinet ideology, because scientists believe the brain is actually more like a computer on a busy work day with tonnes of tasks, applications and programmes all running at once. And it’s the result of these activities going on at the same time that cause those momentary bouts of forgetfulness as you walk into a different room.

‘If only I could remember why I came in here!’ [Photo: Rex Features]

Dubbed ‘The Doorway Effect’, the finding comes on the back of a study from Indiana’s University of Notre Dame in which researchers asked 55 university students to play a computer game in which they moved through a virtual building; collecting and carrying objects from room to room.

Every so often as the participants moved around the space, a picture of an object popped up on the screen. If the object shown was the one they were carrying or had just put down, the participants clicked ‘yes’. Sometimes these pictures appeared after the participant had walked into a room; other times they appeared while the participant was still in the middle of a room.

The experiment was then repeated in real life and the results of both tests matched. Walking through a doorway made the students forget what they were doing, so the researchers concluded that our brains see doorways as a sort of memory cut-off point. 

So next time you walk into the kitchen to get your, er what did I come in here for again?, don’t beat yourself up about it. Science says it’s not your fault. And who are we to argue with science?

Do you suffer from The Doorway Effect? Let us know @YahooStyleUK

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