The Doorway Effect Is An Actual Thing--Here's Why It Happens
March 14, 2016
Have you ever walked into a room and immediately think “why did I come in here?!” This happens to me all the time and it’s so frustrating! Before you go thinking that your memory is fading, doorways actually cause forgetfulness. It’s often referred to as the”doorway effect.”
The doorway effect “occurs when our attention moves between levels, and it reflects the reliance of our memories – even memories for what we were about to do – on the environment we’re in,” writes psychologist Tom Stafford. When you move from one room to another, your original thought gets lost in space.
But why does this happen? “We change both the physical and mental environments, moving to a different room and thinking about different things,” Stafford says. “That hastily thought up goal, which was probably only one plate among the many we’re trying to spin, gets forgotten when the context changes.”
Bottom line: walking through a doorway is like a literal mental block.
[Photo: Waiting on Martha]