Forgetfulness and utilising the Door Way Effect.

Everyone occasionally experiences the annoying sensation of walking into a room and forgetting why you came in. What were you going to do? What were you looking for? This is irritating, but also potentially beneficial.

It’s known as the Door Way Effect and extensive research has shown that walking through doors significantly reduces memory recall. It does not need to be a literal door, fridge doors, alleyways and changes of habitat (amongst other things) have the same effect. Numerous experiments have shown that passing though a door or experiencing a change in scenery will reduce peoples ability to remember their purpose, what they have about their person and other small details.

This is related to the Encoding Specificity Principal, the way in which it is easier to recall information in the same environment in which it was learnt. The simplest example being that students who take an exam in the same classroom where they learnt will remember more than students who take the exam in an exam hall. It also applies to states of mind, such as intoxication, learning methods and extreme emotion. This Principal is regularly experienced in the way in just you only remember certain tings when you are drunk, or the way in which when you are angry with a person you will remember all the other annoying things they have done, or when in love you will remember all the wonderful things.

The applications of the Encoding Specificity Principal are already well know. If you want to train soldiers to fight in jungles then they should train in jungles in the most stressful possible situation. Don’t go to places which have made you miserable if you are feeling sensitive. However this essay is more concerned with the positive applications of the, otherwise rather annoying, Door Way Effect.

The exact causes of the Door Way Effect are unclear, but it is thought to regard having the correct memories for new situations or small details being lost when working towards the big picture. Like the majority of human behaviour, it probably originates from primitive survival mechanisms. When entering a new environment, prehistoric humans would need to focus only on the new environment and its challenges and opportunities. For example, when moving from the forest to the grassland, primitive humans would need to forget everything they knew about the forest and focus only on the grassland. In different habitats, news skills would be need to, for example, deal with different predators.

Whatever the cause, the Effect is very useful as a way of influencing our own thought processes and memories.

Passing through naturals ‘doorways’ or arches, such as those formed by trees can give a new perspective.

Walking through the same, unbroken, harmonious landscape would be a good way to think deeply on a subject or reminisce. Open farmland or forest would be perfect.

Walking about many varied habitats, from urban to forest, to grassland to cliffs, past mountains and lakes and back to urban, would be good to reduce stress or anxiety. The mind would be constantly reset and problems could be forgotten or reevaluated. In the city you could walk down alleyways and through parks to experience the same effect.

In conclusion, the normally inconvenient Door Way Effect can be used as a way to positively influence your own thoughts and memories. Sometimes somethings need to be let go of and new doors need to be opened.



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