FYI Daily

Don't Want to Forget? Don't Leave the Room

Last updated: Nov 21, 2011

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It's happened to all of us -- we're thinking about something in the kitchen, but once we get to the bedroom, we've totally forgotten our train of thought.

According to a new study in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, moving from one room to another acts as an "event boundary" in the mind.

Researchers set up several experiments, some virtual and some real. In all of them, participants had to remember things as they moved across a room or moved from one room to another. Researchers found that memory was more impaired if the participant moved into a different room than if they walked the same distance across the same room.

University of Notre Dame psychologist Gabriel Radvansky told PsychCentral, "Recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different room is difficult because it's been compartmentalized."

Interestingly, researchers also found that even if the participants went back to the original room, memory didn't improve.

Note to self: Write your notes to self before leaving the room.