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Monday, December 12, 2011

So that's why I seem senile!

I recently read a great article which explains why we are prone to forget what we went to the kitchen for once we've arrived. It isn't the kitchen so much as the doorway to the kitchen that causes the disconnect.

Here's a brief excerpt from the article

"Passing through a doorway, whether we're entering or exiting, creates something called an "event boundary" in our mind...  That event boundary "separates episodes of activity and files them away." It's just one of the many tricks our brain uses to keep life organized. Our mind parses events out with "event boundaries" to help us sort through thoughts and memories. But in the case of forgetting things, it's "like the brain is too efficient for its own good, sticking thoughts back in the cabinet before you're done using them..."

Reading that made everything seem suddenly clear.  It also made the idea of open-plan loft living seem curiously attractive.

This morning I was rushing through my routine when, on my way into the kitchen, I cocked my arm to glance at my watch.  In doing so, I experienced such an 'event boundary'.  I barked my elbow so hard on the door-frame that I forgot my own name! 

It evens out though, because a split second later I inadvertently taught our eight-year-old son several words he will never forget, no matter how many doorways he passes through in his life.

Posted by David Bogner on December 12, 2011 | Permalink


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So you're saying that when you leave a room, your brain treats knowledge differently, giving you a different perspective on the events that have just occurred in the original room?

Pretty cool. You should consider starting a blog, and have that idea in the name.

Posted by: Dave (Balashon) | Dec 12, 2011 2:06:15 PM

I've found that if I forgot why I went into the kitchen, I can usually jog my memory by retracing my steps back to wherever i was when I decided to go into the kitchen in the first place. I guess the same way the kitchen doorway makes you forget, the place you originally came up with the thought makes you remember.

-= 8 =-

Posted by: stam.scribe | Dec 12, 2011 2:30:55 PM

Dave (Balashon) should get some kind of prize for that one. :-)

Posted by: rutimizrachi | Dec 12, 2011 3:09:06 PM

Reminds me of a story about Charlie, an elderly gentleman, who one evening is sitting in his living room and talking with a friend. He mentions having taken his wife out the previous evening to a really good restaurant. The friend asks him which restaurant, and he can't remember.

Charlie asks his friend, "What's the name of that flower... you know, the red one with the thorns?"

"You mean a rose?"

"Rose! Yeah, that's it!"

Charlie then turns toward the kitchen and yells, "Hey, Rose! What was the name of the place we ate at last night?"

Posted by: Elisson | Dec 12, 2011 6:59:32 PM

Thanks for the info, Dave. And hope the elbow is feeling better....but did you remember why you went into the kitchen?

Elisson... LOVE that joke! :)

Posted by: val | Dec 13, 2011 2:04:08 PM

Ellison - The old ones are the best ones. :)

Posted by: psachya | Dec 13, 2011 4:53:52 PM

Ahh, the jokesters are back! I love it!

Seriously, if you lived in an open floor plan loft, how would your brain compartmentalize your life? Wouldn't you be one muddled mess (given the lack of event boundaries)?

Posted by: ProphetJoe | Dec 14, 2011 6:02:22 AM

Well, I'm guessing that if the loft became a muddled mess, eventually there would be an event horizon instead of event boundaries!

Posted by: Rahel | Dec 16, 2011 9:34:22 PM

Religious people swear???!

Posted by: Imshin | Dec 22, 2011 10:03:04 PM

Imshin... Yes, my friend. At least this one does. Must be my secular upbringing... or those four years I spent in the navy. :-)

Posted by: Treppenwitz | Dec 22, 2011 10:12:27 PM


Well, nice to hear you are human. I've had my doubts, given all these years of dilligent blogging, long after I tired of it. Now I sense you are also going through a well-earned 'don't feel much like writing' period. Enjoy.

Posted by: Imshin | Dec 23, 2011 9:33:29 AM

I know its been a little while since this post and your trending towards silence (not that there is anything wrong with that) and worrying about you I figured that some Talmudic back-up for your stance: "Shimon the son of Rabban Gamliel said: All my life I have been raised among the Sages, and I have not found anything better for oneself than silence" (http://www.torah.org/learning/pirkei-avos/chapter1-17.html)

Best of luck to you :)

Posted by: Aharon Fischman | Dec 29, 2011 7:25:30 AM

Regarding religious people swearing - when I was much younger, I had a male friend who worked at an AM/PM minimart/gas station (remember those?). It was near a yeshiva in a small town, and one of the religious guys from the yeshiva would sometimes hang out at the AM/PM. Some of the dirtiest (read: profanity-filled) jokes I have ever heard were told to me and my friend by this guy.

Posted by: Alissa | Jan 10, 2012 6:35:17 PM

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