Passing through a door can scramble your brain

doorway scrambling brainThe humble door frame has been endowered with magical powers – as a human passes beneath one, the door frame lets off a burst of energy capable of penetrating deep within the brain. The zap of energy is enough to scramble the thought patterns, leaving the brain bewildered. Seriously !

This week’s Neurotechnology Tip warns you about the extraordinary powers of the door frame. It can be a force for good, but more often than not, it ends up being a force for evil.

The missing info

You’re working on that big assignment which is due, TOMORROW.

You’ve ploughed through heaps of information, you’re working on systematically arranging it – things are actually going quite well. You’re in the groove.

Suddenly you realize you’re missing one vital piece of the puzzle – an article which is in another room.

Reluctantly you get up to retrieve it. You get up out of your chair, pass out of the door of the room you’re “studying” in and head for an adjacent room.

The doorway effect

You arrive in the other room ……….but for the life of you can’t remember why you’re there.

Now, you could blame a lot of things for the current dilemma, but researchers from the University of Notre Dame have nailed the REAL culprit. It was the DOORWAY.

Doorways cause trouble

The team of researchers designed a video game to test how difficult passing under doorways is, for the brain.

In the video game, players had to grab a coloured geometric object sitting on one table and transfer it to a second table. The catch, as soon as they grabbed the object, it became invisible to them, since it was tucked inside their “backpack”.

When the participants had to move it to a table located in the same room – they had no trouble remembering what the object looked like. But when the participants had to carry their object into a new room – the nature of the object invariably slipped their mind.

The trouble had nothing to do with timing or distance. The door was the agent of forgetting.

Not just a virtual phenomenon

Intrigued, the researchers tried out the experiment in the real world and in the real world, the door effect persisted.

Do a doorway reset only when needed

Now that you know doorways have such phenomenal powers – you can exploit the doorway effect to enhance your learning.

If you’re working on that big assignment and you hit a brick wall. Pass under a doorway and do a mini brain reboot, to reinvigorate your thinking – a little. But if you’re in the groove – STAY PUT.

Don’t let that doorway “spoil” your groove.

Walking through doorways causes forgetting: Further explorations. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology (2011) 64 (8) : 1632-1645


To wire up your brain a little each week ………………..

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Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below

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