I subscribe to a daily e-mail called "Now I Know: Learning Something New Every Day." I wanted to share today's trivia because it relates to this year's theme, Life of the Mind. I think we've all suffered from forgetfulness as we move through tasks on a to-do list. We assume we're 'just getting old' or have too many distractions. But there may be another, far simpler explanation.
According to today's missive:
In November of 2011, a team of researchers at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, published a study which suggested that entering and exiting rooms can cause our short term memories to fail us. Their theory: our brains take items in our short term memories and stick them into virtual compartments, with different ideas in different areas -- much like a house or office has different rooms. When we cross through doorways in the physical world, our mental world also passes through what psychology professor and head researcher Gabriel Radvansky calls an "event boundary" -- an action which, in his words, "separates episodes of activity and files them away." Basically, when your body leaves the room, your mind leaves that "to do" list behind.
This explains a lot, doesn't it? Here's a link to sign up for the free daily newsletter.