Thursday Special ~ It’s the damn door!

Open Doorway

Open Doorway

Ever walk into a room with some purpose in mind, only to completely forget what that purpose was?

Turns out, doors themselves are to blame for these strange memory lapses.

Psychologists at the University of Notre-Dame have discovered that passing through a doorway triggers what’s known as an event boundary in the mind, separating one set of thoughts and memories from the next.

Your brain files away the thoughts you had in the previous room and prepares a blank slate for the new locale.

Thank goodness for studies like this. It’s not our age, it’s that damn door!


Thank you Brighid…. What was I saying as I came through the doorway?

33 thoughts on “Thursday Special ~ It’s the damn door!

  1. bitchontheblog

    As excuses go, sure: Why not blame a door? Door won’t mind. Doors don’t have feelings.

    As it is, the terrible truth: I have barely set one foot in front of another before purpose is lost. I console myself with the flattering notion that I am being so preoccupied with the really important in life that my intent of, say, fetching a pencil from another room so unimportant I might as well forget it on my way.

    My god, Grannymar: What will become of me? I suppose I could always write little post-it notes before getting up from my desk and making a move. But then post it notes are not what they were either and might well be dropped on the way.

    Let there be hope, and plenty of room for us to retrace our steps. As they say in the motherland: What you haven’t got in your head you’ve got to have in your feet.


  2. Alice

    What you do is leave pencils, writing pads, reading material, lens cleaner & wiping cloth and anything else you use every day throughout the day in every room in the house like I do. That way you can just repose wherever you land after the morning wake up coffee. And when (or if) you walk through the front door you can just forget the whole lot!

  3. Warren Lieberman

    They actually have a name for this condition. And there have been studies about it. But I forgot (not really). It is called “event boundary.” Going through a door or into another space is like changing scenes, a new place. The thought from the previous room / scene is temporarily forgotten or in a different mental compartment.

    More strange is that money has been spent on this!

    1. Grannymar

      Some people have too much time on their hands if they can spend it thinking up conditions like “event boundary”, Unfortunately the US is over fond of tagging people with labels. The ‘Stress’ business is a case in point. The best stress buster is physical exercise – not the stuff you pay for in a Gym, but yard sweeping, window cleaning, chopping logs, or washing the car. A good brisk walk can cut right through stress in no time.

  4. Nick

    That has to be total nonsense. If we forgot everything we were going to do every time we walked through a door, then we would never do anything! Of course we could always avoid the door and climb through a window, or would that also wipe our memories?

  5. Barbara

    For all of you people up there thinking of removing the doors, don’t. The event boundary exists whether the door is in place or not. Our house is quite small and as a result we removed quie a few of the doors to save space, however the event boundary still remains I’m afraid. It’s not in the door, it’s in the doorway!

    It actually makes sense to me. Each different room in my house has a different purpose, doorway or not, and is filled (to bursting) with different things, so there is much to distract my overworked brain as I pass through an event boundary into a different environment.

    What almost always works for me is returning to the place where I had the thought and starting over, I often find the trigger back in the first room. Second time round I do write down what it is I need to remember…. Years of forgetting has made me very tired of retracing my steps!

    PS it’s not age either. Not unless 44 is old. My forgetfulness started in earnest with my first baby. I remember one day leaving the house packed up and ready to go after the several hours it takes to first leave the house with a new baby.

    When I reached the main road I was flummoxed. I was trying to work out which side of the road I needed to stand on for the bus…. After all my preparation I had forgotten where it was I was going!!


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