Saturday, 12 March 2016

the doorway effect or economies of scale

The always brilliant Tom Stafford of Mind Hacks presents an in depth explanation about our shifting attention and intention about that lapse that we’ve all experienced, much to our annoyance, called the doorway effect: that is when we’ve come into a room to retrieve something but the reason temporarily escapes us.
I never thought that there needed to be more to it than passing through a threshold can trigger forgetfulness and was just glad that I was not alone in these occasional challenges. It is not as if there is just something ritualistically symbolic about portals that cues amnesia, however—rather the doorway effect provides a window to view the way that memory functions in the context of setting goals. While one might not remember why one was on course to the kitchen (to grab the house keys from the vide-poche, it’s because the mind is racing ahead of itself with planning. Finding one’s keys is the first step of a grander goal of having a productive and fulfilling day at work, minimising the unexpected, finding a new job, getting a promotion and a hundred other things. Our thoughts are constantly shifting up and down this hierarchy of gateway goals and changing rooms can refocus our efforts.