Home Design Can Trigger Memory Lapse, Research Says


I regularly walk into my kitchen and open a drawer, only to forget what I am looking for. I walk into our laundry room to claim some clean socks, only to forget what it was I needed. When I call for the dog, my kid's name sometimes comes out of my mouth. And as much as I dislike Rick Perry, I totally got how he couldn't remember the third federal department he plans on eliminating if we elect him president.

Now finally, we have something to blame for those unfortunately named "senior moments." It's the doorway.

New research from University of Notre Dame Psychology Professor Gabriel Radvansky says that the act of passing through a doorway causes memory lapses. Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an "event boundary" in our minds.

He says, "Recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different room is difficult because it has been compartmentalized." In other words: If you are gift-wrapping at the dining room table and walk to the bathroom to get the scissors, you won't remember that it was scissors you were after once you cross the threshold of the doorway because the decision to get them still lives in the dining room.

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