Where are my keys?
Did I call about my prescriptions?
Now, what did I do with my phone?
Why am I in the kitchen?
And the big question?
Why am I forgetting things?
That is the query many of us have as we add numbers to our birthdays. Am I really losing my mind? And should I be worried about it?
I’ve been thinking about this memory loss lately, when I remember to think about it, and I’ve read some interesting theories.
Several studies suggest that when we find ourselves in another room and can’t figure out what we are doing there, it may be because we went through a doorway. Huh? Yep, apparently our brains get trained to change gears when we go in or out of a room, sort of putting an ‘end’ to one thing by exiting a space, and ‘beginning’ a new experience by entering another space.
I am not making this up, however, the people who researched this may have been a group of fourth graders who didn’t do their homework and thought of this explanation. Their teacher was so impressed she did a TED Talk on it and the study is now called ‘The Door Way Effect’. I can’t say for certain if it’s true, but it’s on the Internet, so….?
The idea behind the Door Way Effect theory is that our minds are trained to change gears when we stop one thing and start something new, dismissing thoughts that don’t seem necessary as we begin something new, i.e. entering another room.
Please, don’t take my word for this, you can find lots of explanations on the Internet, and the one I found a bit more understandable is found at https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-walking-through-doorway-makes-you-forget/. However, another one is on a site called Mental Floss. This site doesn’t provide any better information, but I like the thought that we can floss our brains. Now that’s a unique visual image!
The premise seems plausible enough, and it certainly makes me feel better about why I lose anything that is in another room. However, I do have a few concerns.
One having to do with driving my car. It seems to me that by the time I think I need to go somewhere, find my keys, walk through the doorway of my garage, open the car door, push the button to raise the garage door, and start the car, I haven’t any idea why I’m in the car and where I think I’m going?
Of course, by that time, I probably don’t care about my destination, any direction will do. This theory does explain why as a teenager when sent to the store, I would find it necessary to stop along the way, call home and ask ‘where am I going and why am I going there?’ Mother would explain I should be going to the grocery store to get potatoes.
Some minutes later, I would return home with a bag of onions, and wonder why she was upset. Too many doors.
If I want to protect my memory, I guess I’m going to have to gut my house of all walls, so I’m always in one room.
As the saying goes, when looking for an excuse to remodel, any will do.