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Friday, May 24, 2013

Why we forget things and Other Mind Tricks

English: Japanese Macaque in captivity, Launce...
English: Japanese Macaque in captivity, Launceston, Tasmania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Forgetting:

       I get my fair share of email things that people pass on to me.  I'm sure many of you do as well.  Actually many of these are somewhat interesting such as the following sent to me by Eve Prokop at Little Things:


"Ever walk into a room with some purpose in mind, only to completely forget what that purpose was?  Turns out, it is the doors  themselves are to blame for these strange memory lapses.  Psychologists at the University of Notre Dame have discovered that passing through a doorway triggers what's known as an 'event boundary' in the mind, separating one set of thoughts and memories from the next. Your brain files away the thoughts you had in the previous room and prepares a blank slate for the new locale." 
It's not aging, it's the stupid door !

        I actually referred to this study in a post at my dream blog A Faraway View.   My theory is that the transition from sleep to wakefulness could be partly the explanation of why we so easily forget our dreams much in the same way the forgetting happens in the room to room theory.

       Anyway, if you are interested in mental things like dreaming, I have my dream blog that posts every Thursday.  Recently I Dreamed of a Macaque and told about some dreams that I relate to something that will be happening soon.  It's something that I am not discussing too much yet, but I will be dropping hints in the weeks to come.  This could change the way I blog.  Then again maybe not.  I may just be walking into another room of my House of Life.  

On Recent Blog Posts:

       In line with my interests in affairs of the mind and why we do the things we do, this past Monday I wrapped up my recent series about Swearing.   If you missed any of these posts you can find them here, here, and here.  You can still go back and offer your thoughts on the subject.  I pretty much won the debate, but there was really not much substance to the pro-swearing side--at least I didn't get it yet on my site and didn't see anything convincing on any other sites.  I'd like to think that my efforts even did a teeny tiny part in cleaning up the language of a few who read the post and actually thought about it.  

On Upcoming Blog Posts:

      Be sure to drop by Nutschell's blog The Writing Nut next Wednesday May 29th when I will be featured on her Wednesday Writer's Workspace.  Many of you have already been her guest.  It's a fun opportunity to drop in to see where we work and talk a bit about ourselves.  To see some of Nutschell's past guests visit her Writer's Workspace page.  

Also next Wednesday on Tossing It Out, I'll be participating in the Get Healthy Bloghop which is hosted by Stephen Tremp, L. Diane Wolfe, Michael Di Gesu, and Alex J. Cavanaugh.   You won't want to miss my tips on how I stay healthy.  Maybe I should tag my post in the humor category.   Well, I try to stay healthy.

I Rock!



         Thank you Alex J Cavanaugh for this cool recognition!   I guess I'm still capable of rockin' out now and then.



Don't Forget the Macaque:

        I'm just testing to see who read the whole post.  The macaque is telling me something.  I'll be filling you in with more details in the weeks to come.  Did I say that already?  Guess I forgot.  Must have walked into another room.

          Do you tend to forget what you're doing sometimes?  Are you interested in the nature and meaning of dreams?   Do you know what a macaque is?    Are you healthy?

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36 comments:

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Congrats on the award and I find this door/forgetfulness connection quite fascinating. I too have stepped through a door and completely forgotten what I had planned to do or get. I'm glad to have taken part in your posts on swearing and know they're both pros and cons despite myself being a non swearing type. Enjoy your weekend.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry, I just walked into another room - what were you saying about the Macaque?
Glad you like the upgraded award! You were the first to receive it three years ago, my friend. Well deserved.
And thanks for mentioning our bloghop.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I definitely need to stop by the Get Healthy blog hop. I'm curious to know what real people are doing to get and stay healthy.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

We have a lot signed up for the Get Healthy Bloghop.

It's the door? I can now blame the door? Stupid door.

Susanne Drazic said...

CONGRATS on the AWESOME rockin' award! : )

I'm participating in the healthy blog hop. I look forward to reading everyone's tips.

Graciewilde said...

I often forget. I always assume it is b/c I live on overload, not that I am aging. Yes, I am interested in dreams. I just can't decide if they are really conversations with myself or simply brain activity which purpose is to allow for a smooth waking life. I don't know what a macaque is. I am actually very healthy. Okay, so my hand is still recovering from March surgery but really? in the grand scheme of things, it is a minor blip. Sometimes I question my mental health but mostly I see that as a reflection of who I am and not an indication of poor health. Sometimes its tough to function in the world as is but I don't really see that as a mental health issue.

YVONNE LEWIS: said...

Looking forward to the Get Healthy blogfest, also got my You Rock Yvonne from Alex, as for swearing it's still going on if you understand what I'm on about,
Have a good week-end.
Yvonne.

Em-Musing said...

When my seven-year-old granddaughter walked into a room and said, "grandma, I fogot what I was going to do." I knew forgetting things wasn't just old age. Interesting though about doors. OK, now someone please tell me why I forgot where the ? key was on the keyboard.

Jagoda said...

I love having the door to blame for my forgetfulness. I can tell I'll be using that excuse a lot in the coming years. LOL

You trickster, you. Of course I read the whole post and then you don't even give me a tiny little additional hint about the macaque?

Laura Marcella said...

I know about our memory and doorways from an article I read awhile ago. How funny! The workings of our minds are so mysterious.

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

Arlee Bird said...

Sheena -- I think there are fair more cons on swearing as I didn't hear many convincing arguments on the pro side.

Alex -- History repeats itself! Thank you!

Karen -- But what are the imaginary people doing to stay healthy?

Diane-- I guess if we always stayed in one room we'd never forget anything--except why we were there maybe.

Susanne-- Thanks!

Gracie -- Maybe if we didn't question our own mental health sometimes that would be the sign of a problem. Delusions of grandeur? It's a crazy world and I question my mental health all the time.

Yvonne- Sorry about the swearing issues you have to deal with, but you still rock.

Em-- I've got that "?" key down pretty well as I use it a lot. Have you noticed that?

Lee

Arlee Bird said...

Jagoda - Ah, but the macaque hints are everywhere. I may be a bit nutty sometimes and I tend to monkey around a lot, but I usually stay pretty centered despite my rambling. Anyone want a banana?

Laura -- The articles about the forgetfulness study were all over back when Eve sent me the email. It is a mysterious concept in a way, but when you think about it the forgetfulness theory makes a lot of sense.

Lee

Arlee Bird said...

I'm taking the 13th comment and I'll be telling you why in a future post.

Lee

~Sia McKye~ said...

The door? hmmm, interesting. I guess it makes sense our brain could perceive it as a boundary.


I'll be around for the Blog hop even though I'm taking off next week. It should be an interesting read with lots of good tips.
Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

Eve said...

Hey Lee, thanks for the link! Anything to do with the mind is so interesting. Our minds are far more powerful than we know, and I think they often 'play tricks' like this on us. I am interested to find out what the macaque knows...and what he's forgotten. I think your theory about going from dreaming to wakefulness being like going through a 'door' is very valid and probably the reason we don't often remember our dreams...at least I don't often remember mine any more. Maybe the 'door' between being awake and sleeping is just too much for my poor old mind! lol.

Eve said...

Oh, I forgot, thanks for telling us about the get healthy bloghop...I didn't know anything about it and health issues are one of my passions. I will be sure to check it out.

Andrew Leon said...

Twinkies and soda are the way to go!
Wait, I can't get out of my chair...

D.G. Hudson said...

Doors are very intriguing. I used to draw scenes with doors within doors. I like to think they were doors of possibility.

I find distractions also tend to cause my brain to jump to another lane of thinking. BTW - I'm not fond of monkeys, but am intrigued by your mention of them. Hmm.

YeamieWaffles said...

Great post Lee, really got me thinking about things, congratulations on your award too buddy, much deserved.

Arlee Bird said...

Sia- The doorway study makes total sense. It seems like a logical conclusion to come to even without doing a study, but I guess it's one of those things that often don't occur to us when it happens.

Eve --So many times people say they don't dream or can't remember their dreams. This sounds like a logical reason why. A transition from one mental state to another would be very similar to passing from one room to another. As far as the macaque I want to know what it means. Why would I have even had a dream about such a thing that I never even think of?

Andrew -- Your health tips will be right up my alley. I can go for Twinkies for better health.

DG -- Doors have great symbolic potential and can be good plot devices. Monkeys can be conceptually interesting and fun, but in reality they can be quite disgusting and mean. But why specifically the macaque? I don't even remember when or where I last heard this word used until my recent dream.

Lee

Andrew Leon said...

There is some dude that claims his longevity was/is due to eating a package of twinkies every day.

Arlee Bird said...

Andrew -- I heard the other day that Twinkies essentially have no specific shelf life and will last indefinitely. Then there was a recent story about the guy who put a McDonald's hamburger in the pocket of one of his coats and just found it after it being there for 10 years and it looked the same. I don't know if I'm buying that one totally. But I guess it is true that food now has so many preservatives that it can last a very long time. If we're eating that food we are ingesting those preservatives.

Now I think I'm going to run over to McDonald's and get a hamburger for lunch. I want to live forever.

Lee

Andrew Leon said...

Yeah, I read that article. I'm not sure what they did to verify that guy's story, but that's what he claims, at any rate.
Scary.

Eve said...

Hey, I saw that McBurger story on the news up here. They said it was 14 years, and was verified because the burger was in the original bag with the receipt, which had the date stamped on it. The burger did look sort of dried out, but otherwise fine. Myself, I haven't eaten fast food for about 11 years, but I love chocolate and bakery stuff...pie, cake...whatever, its all good!

Andrew Leon said...

But what if it was just the wrapper and receipt he stuck in his pocket for 14 years and he stuck some week old burger into that old wrapper?

Susan Scott said...

I hope this comment gets through to you Lee ... sometimes this Blogger doesn't accept my comments and I know there is something skewed about it. My son will be here tomorrow so I am hoping he can fix it in the next few days. I'm going to check out your dream post in a moment. I remember your post about the door 'getting in the way' of our remembering what we were about to do ...

Donna Hole said...

I'm as healthy as anyone can be in my state of bad eating habits and lack of consistent exercise routine :) Guess it goes along with the bad swearing habit, lol.

I'm interested in dream research too. I rarely remember my dreams 2 seconds after waking. Usually I just remember a feeling - scared, happy, anxiety.

And I can get with the door thing with forgetting. Except, there are no doors to enter at my work when I step away from my desk and totally forget what I was going over to the wall of forms for. I have to go back to my desk, sit in my chair and BOOM I'm reminded of what I was doing.

Yes, you ROCK! Lee.

.....dhole

Arlee Bird said...

Matthew (Yeamie) --Thanks for stopping by to comment as always.

Eve -- I guess you're still getting your doses of preservatives.

Andrew -- That's what I was thinking. It sure seem like a burger that old would have a definite change of appearance. I saw the picture and it looked like a fresh burger to me. Guess we'll have to try the experiment ourselves. I just ate both of my burgers so I guess I'll have to wait until next time. I am suspicious about the guy's claim. I think he just found the receipt and went and bought another burger to get in the news. Maybe they could carbon date the burger?

Susan -- Looks like you got through fine with your comments on both blogs. I'll take a look at your other comment shortly.

Donna -- I think the door was essentially a metaphorical reference for passing from one environment to the next. I can see that desk thing happening like you describe. I've done that too. And thanks!

Lee




Andrew Leon said...

I'm not sure what method you'd use to date a hamburger. Actually, I'm sure a burger wouldn't be all that hard to "pick up." heh Okay, wait a minute... that's completely the wrong direction.

I'm sure there must be some way to figure out how old the burger was, but it seems as if everyone just accepted his story because that's what he said. I kind of want to try something like that out, but it scares me too much at the same time.

Carol Kilgore said...

I have no answers about the macaque. Your dreams and upcoming venture are somewhat cryptic, but intriguing. It will interesting to hear what's really happening with you.

Silvia Villalobos said...

The mind sure is interesting, isn't it? I forget things all the time, but then again, I take on so much more than I did years ago.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I laugh at myself when I forget why I went into a room. Usually happens when I have ten things on my mind.

Arlee Bird said...

Andrew -- And the story was on the internet so it must be true.

Carol-- That macaque is an enigma to me as well, but I should know more in July.

Silvia -- We get bombarded with so much information that it's difficult to process and retain it all.

Susan GK -- Maybe we all do too much thinking.

Lee

Jo said...

Now I know why I go into a room for something and forget once I am there. I thought it was just old age and senility.

A macaque eh???

JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

Liza said...

If we stay in one room forever, does that mean we will never forget? Whatever your dreams represent, I hope that the apprehension fades and the real life issue comes out better than you expect.

Robin said...

Congrats on the You Rock Award. That is interesting stuff about the doorway or the changing of the rooms being the reason for forgetting things. I like the idea. It goes along with a change of intention. Your intention changes when you change rooms causing you to forget what you were doing. Makes sense to me.