We’ve all experienced it: The frustration of entering a room and forgetting what we were going to do. Or get. Or find.
New research from University of Notre Dame Psychology Professor Gabriel Radvansky suggests that passing through doorways is the cause of these memory lapses.
“Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an ‘event boundary’ in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away,” Radvansky explains.
“Recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different room is difficult because it has been compartmentalized.”
The study was published recently in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.
Embodied Cognition is a subject that I've become more interested in over the last year. From Wikepedia: The overarching theme of embodied cognition throughout the literature is a reciprocal relationship between thoughts and actions. Embodied cognition reflects the idea that the motor system influences our cognition, just as the mind influences bodily actions. For example, in one experiment researchers directed participants to hold a pencil in their teeth to engage the facial muscles used when smiling. These participants were quicker to comprehend pleasant sentences than unpleasant sentences. Those holding a pencil in their lips to activate frowning muscles were significantly slower at comprehending pleasant sentences. This illustrates the influence of facial muscle movement on cognition.
I picked up a copy of Philosophy in the Flesh : The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson recently but I've yet to start the 600+ page tome. Next month.