The Doorway Effect: Why your brain won’t let you remember what you were doing before you came in here
I work in a lab, and the way our lab is set up, there are two adjacent rooms, connected by both an outer hallway and an inner doorway. I do most of my work on one side, but every time I walk over to the other side to grab a reagent or a box of tips, I completely forget what I was after. This leads to a lot of me standing with one hand on the freezer door and grumbling, “What the hell was I doing?” It got to where all I had to say was “Every damn time” and my labmate would laugh. Finally, when I explained to our new labmate why I was standing next to his bench with a glazed look in my eyes, he was able to shed some light. “Oh, yeah, that’s a well-documented phenomenon,” he said. “Doorways wipe your memory.”
Being the gung-ho new science blogger that I am, I decided to investigate. And it’s true! Well, doorways don’t literally wipe your memory. But they do encourage your brain to dump whatever it was working on before and get ready to do something new. In one study, participants played a video game in which they had to carry an object either across a room or into a new room. Then they were given a quiz. Participants who passed through a doorway had more trouble remembering what they were doing. It didn’t matter if the video game display was made smaller and less immersive, or if the participants performed the same task in an actual room—the results were similar. Returning to the room where they had begun the task didn’t help: even context didn’t serve to jog folks’ memories.
The researchers wrote that their results are consistent with what they call an “event model” of memory. They say the brain keeps some information ready to go at all times, but it can’t hold on to everything. So it takes advantage of what the researchers called an “event boundary,” like a doorway into a new room, to dump the old info and start over. Apparently my brain doesn’t care that my timer has seconds to go—if I have to go into the other room, I’m doing something new, and can’t remember that my previous task was antibody, idiot, you needed antibody.
I finally learned why I completely space when I cross to the other side of the lab, and that I’m apparently not alone.
this is actually kind of great and it’s nice to know there’s something behind that constant spacing out whenever i enter a different place
FINALLY AN EXPLANATION
Zoe and Wash, while deeply forever ridiculously in love, are not drift compatible.
Zoe and Mal are drift compatible.
Kaylee and Wash are drift compatible, and they have the best piloted, sweetest running jaeger ever been seen in the ‘verse - the best piloted, sweetest running jaeger ever to run away from a kaiju.
The recent release of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" reminded me of one of my favorite ape vs. man films – this 1932 video that shows a baby chimpanzee and a baby human undergoing the same basic psychological tests.
Its gets weirder – the human baby (Donald) and the chimpanzee baby (Gua) were both raised as humans by their biological/adopted father Winthrop Niles Kellogg. Kellogg was a comparative psychologist fascinated by the interplay between nature and nurture, and he devised a fascinating (and questionably ethical) experiment to study it:
Suppose an anthropoid were taken into a typical human family at the day of birth and reared as a child. Suppose he were fed upon a bottle, clothed, washed, bathed, fondled, and given a characteristically human environment; that he were spoken to like the human infant from the moment of parturition; that he had an adopted human mother and an adopted human father.
First, Kellogg had to convince his pregnant wife he wasn’t crazy:
…the enthusiasm of one of us met with so much resistance from the other that it appeared likely we could never come to an agreement upon whether or not we should even attempt such an undertaking.
She apparently gave in, because Donald and Gua were raised, for nine months, as brother and sister. Much like Caesar in the “Planet of the Apes” movies, Gua developed faster than her “brother,” and often outperformed him in tasks. But she soon hit a cognitive wall, and the experiment came to an end. (Probably for the best, as Donald had begun to speak chimpanzee.)
This is the most adorable experiment that has ever been done.
ok so i read part of the article because i thought the fact that the kid was starting to learn chimp was actually kind of awesome and wasn’t really a problem. apparently no concrete reason was every given for the termination, but it’s postulated that the study ended not because the kid was speaking ape, but because he wasn’t learning to speak human. because of the study, donald wasn’t socializing with other human babies and he only ever had a standing vocabulary of 3 words.
it’d be cool if they tried this without the human baby so there wouldn’t be this problem of retarding its growth. also treating the chimp like a mute child and teaching it sign language instead of trying to get it to speak. physiological barriers and all that.
After I retired, my wife insisted that I accompany her on her trips to Sainsbury’s. Unfortunately, like most men, I found shopping boring and preferred to get in and get out. Equally unfortunate, my wife is like most women - she loves to browse.
Yesterday my dear wife received the following letter from the local Sainsbury’s…
Dear Mrs. Harris,
Over the past six months, your husband has caused quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this behaviour and have been forced to ban both of you from the store. Our complaints against your husband, Mr. Harris, are listed below and are “documented by our video
1. June 15: He took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in other people’s carts when they weren’t looking.
2. July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-
3. July 7: He made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the women’s restroom.
4. July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official
voice, ‘Code 3 in Housewares. Get on it right away’. This caused the employee to leave her assigned station and receive a reprimand from her Supervisor that in turn resulted with a union grievance, causing management to lose time and costing the company money.
5. August 4: Went to the Service Desk and tried to reserve a bag of Maltesers.
6. August 14: Moved a ‘CAUTION - WET FLOOR’ sign to a carpeted area.
7. August 15: Set up a tent in the camping department and told the children shoppers they could come in if they would bring pillows and blankets from the bedding department - to which twenty children obliged.
8. August 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him he began
crying and screamed, ‘Why can’t you people just leave me alone?’
Emergency Medics were called.
9. September 4: Looked right into the security camera and used it as a mirror while he picked his nose.
10. October 3: Darted around the Store suspiciously while loudly
humming the ’ Mission Impossible’ theme.
11. October 6: In the auto department, he practiced his ‘Madonna look’ by using different sizes of funnels.
12. October 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed
through, yelled ‘PICK ME! PICK ME!’
13. October 22: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed the fetal position and screamed ‘OH NO! IT’S THOSE VOICES AGAIN!’
14. Took a box of condoms to the checkout clerk and asked where the fitting room was.
And last, but not least:
15. October 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited
awhile, and then yelled very loudly, ‘Hey! There’s no toilet paper in here.’
One of the Staff passed out.
OMFG I AM SCREAMING.
“Looked right into the security camera and used it as a mirror while he picked his nose.”
Is this woman’s husband Misha Collins?
OMG THIS IS GREAT