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Why do we forget what we were going to do when we changed spaces?

Forgot what you were going to do when you walked into a room? It happens to everyone. Find out how the phenomenon is known and why it happens.

Why did we forget what we were going to do? It has happened to everyone at least once: we are in the room, we leave it with a task in mind and, as soon as we enter the room, for example… we no longer remember what we were going to do there.

It’s no use running to neurologists or memory supplements, the phenomenon is natural and will continue to happen even against our will.

Doorway Effect is to blame

So, after all, why did we forget what we were going to do? There is a name for the problem. One study classified the event as Doorway Effect – which in free translation is the same as Effect of Passage or Effect of Passage through the Door.

Such an effect is actually a result of our brain programs. In the study, 55 university students who participated in a virtual reality game were analyzed, where they needed to carry some objects from one room to another.

During the process, the image of an object was presented and the volunteers had to say if that was the object they were carrying at that moment or if they had already transported it. In a second moment, in the same situation, the objects were hidden in boxes and at the end of the route, the participants had to answer which object was in the box they were carrying.

In one way or another the result was the same, in both situations the volunteers forgot what they were carrying the moment they entered another room.

Mental adjustment of space

The test was repeated with other variables, such as distance, environments, and time of day. But nothing affected the final considerations. Scientists then concluded that forgetting happens because our brain need to make a new adjustment of space, time and movement according to the change of environment, such as a internal gps reprogrammingand this can leave behind more urgent tasks that are at the top of our priority list.

Like any good machine, the human brain compartmentalizes our actions. The ones we need to do urgently and the not so urgent ones. When we change environments, restructuring causes the task at the top of the list, the freshest one, to be lost.

It is at this moment that the brain, that super-modern machine we still don’t know the half of, gets in the way and makes us stand still as if at the door of a room.

Some people report that a good solution is to retrace the path taken to try to remember what the task was, however, this has not yet been proven scientifically effective.

Until the solution arrives, perhaps the best solution is always to walk with a sticky notes at hand to write down what I was going to do and avoid the Doorway Effect once and for all.

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