Remember the last time you walked into a room and forgot what you were there for? Absurd lack of parallelism aside, it's something we all experience, and apparently it isn't just some random occurrence. A team of researchers in the state of Indiana say there's a bona fide, scientific reason for it.
It's a fairly common feeling to walk into a room and then look around, no clue why you're there, but it isn't common to walk across a room and forget why you did so. Even if it's the same distance.
Well, fear not: you're not crazy.
Researchers at the University of Notre Dame recently conducted a study that showed doorways serve as "event-boundaries," which help the brain organize memories. The team found that our minds actually separate activity from room to room, which is why walking through a door can lead to forgetting while walking the same distance across the room has no effect.
Doorways have long been used as a symbolic boundary in films and books, but it turns out our brains have been creating this connection for a long time. The reasons why remain unclear.
This isn't memory loss so much as your brain has trouble recalling recent memories. In other words, you won't forget something learned about last week — like that nifty new portable door alarm — but you will forget something learned in the room previous. Hence why you'll forget you wanted Fruity Pebbles and dry gin when you walk from the living room to the kitchen, but you won't forget what Fruity Pebbles and dry gin are.
While this doesn't mean you shouldn't rush to build a house without rooms so you never forget anything, it is nice to know we aren't all insane when we walk from room to room and suddenly forget where the car keys are (or that we're even looking for them).