Thinking about doors makes us forget … literally

It often happens that when we move from one place to another, we forget what we would be doing.

This often happens when we draw routes that we are already used to: going to work, to school, etc. We then realize that we have subconsciously taken our way to our office when we actually want to go visit a friend, simply because the two routes share the initial stretch and we are more used to going to work than visiting the apartment. the companion.

Think about the doors

Indeed, after crossing the same place so many times, our brain encodes this path as the default path, gives it the “autopilot” button, and while our feet quietly take us away Due to the wrong route, we can think of others, more interesting things. However, at other times we completely forget what we would be doing when we are at home, A place we frequent so much that there is no “default route”.

In these cases, the only thing that remains in our consciousness is the feeling of having had a very clear purpose behind it, a purpose that no longer exists as an inexplicable disorientation. Also, as a result of this dizziness, it is difficult for us to mentally recap the actions we took just before we ended up where we are and, perhaps for this reason, we don’t notice that the last thing that we made before our fate disappeared. of our mind is … walking through a door.

cut sequences

surprisingly, the key to these little daily mysteries could be here at the gates. There are indications that passing through one subconsciously influences our memories and that in fact, simply imagining that we have walked through a door can cause these memory blurs (Radvansky et al, 2011). (Lawrence & Peterson, 2014). Which means thinking about doors can help us forget the common thread of what we were doing. The explanation is problematic, but it could be this: Doors act as dividers in our memories.

Perhaps for performance reasons, our brains divide our flow of experiences into smaller portions. In this sense, the mental representation of a door would act as a trigger for one of these divisions exerted on our mind, unconsciously cutting off the “narration” of the facts that we are living. We can think of these fragments as the cinematic shots that divide any movie. Coincidentally, important aspects when developing an action plan can be lost in this process of “slicing” and not move on to the next fragment: which is why we often get up from the couch and end up being paralyzed by uncertainty a few meters away.

Does it just happen when you think of the doors?

However, according to this same logic, other elements can have the same effect on us. For example, it has been observed how sentences that introduce a temporary discontinuity produce the same effect. So when we read something like “a week later …” our ability to associate memories is less for those memories that are on either side of that division of time if we compare them to memories that are. in a single fragment (Ezzyat et al, 2010).

This is also why division mechanism So it is so easy to have the need to reread the last few lines after realizing that the story we are reading made a leap in time or space (and therefore is different from the last one we remember). It is not the fault of the book, nor the cause that what we read is irrelevant. What is responsible for these events is the memory coupling system that works in our brain.

The latter is interesting because it symbolically stands out from this process. It’s not that we’re biologically predisposed to forget about doors, it’s that it is a side effect of the symbolic charge of these artefacts. This means that virtually any other perceptual phenomenon can produce the same effect on us if we subconsciously assign it a meaning similar to that of the doors. Do you feel it? These are the psychoanalysts, who are already sharpening their pencils.

Leave a Comment