The Doorway Effect

doorway

Have you ever had a great idea, or remembered something you needed to do, and walked to the next room to divulge the great idea or execute the task, and completely forgot what it was?

Yeah, me too.

All. The. Time.

Why did I come here? How did I get here? What was I supposed to do when I got here?

Some will blame it on age. Others will say they have too much on their minds. But this experience of arriving somewhere only to forget why it is you went there is common. I’m happy to report that scientists say there is actually a psychological explanation behind it called the “doorway effect.”

The “doorway effect,” also known as the “location-updating effect,” is the idea that our brains actually forget things when we pass the physical threshold of a door (also known as an “event boundary.”) Researchers found it didn’t matter how hard subjects tried or how much they paid attention, as soon as they passed through a doorway, they were more likely to forget the task they were given. Moving from one environment to a new one causes the brain a lot of activity, so it purges “old information” obtained in the original place. In one article, scientists Gabriel Radvansky explained, “Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an ‘event boundary’ in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away.” It’s your brain’s way of getting ready to take in the new environment so that you can better understand what’s going on around you.

This is great…unless you really needed to remember that thing you walked into the other room to get!

I’ve walked through an awful lot of doorways this year. I moved for the 4th time in five years. I started three jobs. I quit three jobs. Some were planned. Some were mistakes. Some were unexpected. And this was all with 2 months left in 2016. Believe me when I say that there were many times this year I’ve asked myself, “Why am I here?” and “How did I get here?”

There have definitely been some doorways I’ve walked through that I was more than happy that my brain forgot what had happened in the old environment. Holding onto the information from the “old environment” certainly would not have served me well in the new place

The good news about all of this is that we can actually train our brains to remember what we need to remember. Scientists say that we can counteract the “doorway effect” and breakthrough an “event boundary” by repeating the action we need to take, or announce what we are about to do, when we are walking through the doorway.

My prayer is, and will continue to be, that I walk through doors only God opens for me. In addition, as I continue to learn my purpose and His will for my life, I want to remind myself as I navigate from place to place so I don’t forget what He’s already told me He wants me to do. I have found myself in new environments and have completely forgotten (or maybe disregarded) what God has already shown or told me. This has resulted in me learning the hard way that I’m in the wrong place. I know too well how quickly I can move from room to room, caught up in the tasks of life and distracted by busy-ness. When I do this, I tend to lose memory of what I was being told to do at the onset of my journey. If I know what God has purposed me for, and I continue to repeat the actions I need to take, I believe I will be better able to remember what it is God is calling me to do.

Today’s Forecast:             Sometimes I forget things.

Silver Lining:                     Sometimes I’m supposed to forget things.

 

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