If you’ve ever walked into a room with a task in mind, only to promptly forget what brought you there, you’re not alone. New research suggests it’s the doorway, not your diminishing gray matter, that’s to blame.
A study, published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, found that subjects were two to three times more likely to forget details of a short-term-memory task if they passed through a doorway, compared with traveling an equal distance without leaving a room. Lead author and University of Notre Dame psychology professor Gabe Radvansky, PhD, says that doorways serve as an “event boundary” that causes our brains to discard information.
To avoid this frustrating experience, Radvansky recommends giving yourself a physical reminder whenever possible. “If you’re working on a project and need a screw, bring the screwdriver with you,” he advises.