How walking through a doorway increases forgetting
Like information in a book, unfolding events are stored in human memory in successive chapters or episodes. One consequence is that information in the current episode is easier to recall than information in a previous episode. An obvious question then is how the mind divides experience up into these discrete episodes? A new study led by Gabriel Radvansky shows that the simple act of walking through a doorway creates a new memory episode, thereby making it more difficult to recall information pertaining to an experience in the room that's just been left behind. Dozens of participants used computer keys to navigate through a virtual reality environment presented on a TV screen. The virtual world contained 55 rooms, some large, some small. The key finding is that memory performance was poorer after travelling through an open doorway, compared with covering the same distance within the same room. But what if this result was only found because of the simplistic virtual reality environment?
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