Why walking through a door makes you forget things


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/27/why-walking-through-a-door-mak.html


Probably interesting (and I say that genuinely as someone of an age to wonder if it’s senility when I get upstairs and forgot why I went there) but I gave up after about 75 seconds.

(Rant alert)

What’s with the “we’re so afraid the viewer might go away that we edited out all the pauses for breath between sentences - so tightly that new sentences start almost before the last word of the last one is finished - so as to make it fast and snappy, blah, blah, media fashion bollocks”?

A snappy presentation needs a snappy presentation style and she pretty much had it, if only the half second between sentences had been left to enable my brain time to process what she just said. So your modern, on-trend video editing style which only ends up delivering something that sounds like an uninterrupted stream of consciousness with no structure, actually had the opposite effect. Might have worked for a 1 or 2 minute video, but when I saw there were nearly three more minutes of this ‘overload’, I left. So it did not keep me watching, it drove me away. Well done.



Walking INTO a door makes me forget things.


Edge first gives me a bloody nose…


I have a similar issue when clicking through to the comment section of web sites … Wait, how the hell did I get here again?


Doors always have the edge. Damn them.


I knew there was something weird about living in a bedsit when I first left home…
just that feeling


I walked into a bar, and I forget what happened next.


A lot of this has less to do with doorways, and more to do with how one constructs their event models. Many people think of buildings and rooms as containers, which partition space with an inside and an outside. Thus automatically making it a conceptual “event” to move from one to another, with its own distinct set of circumstances and contents.

Alternately, one can model rooms and buildings as comprising a continuous topological manifold. For example, if you are in a room and place your hand upon a wall, you can “exit” the house sliding your hand along without removing it from the wall at any time. The “inside” and “outside” of a building are really arbitrary boundaries ascribed to one continuous surface.

Similarly customizing one’s models as to what architecturally/topologically constitutes a spacial event can have the corresponding effect of altering how one groups and updates cognitive events.


So then every house can be a Klein Bottle house?



OMG. I’m pretty sure I fell smack in love with you after that first sentence.


Videos like this only work to distract me with the thought “why the heck didn’t they just write this down and offer it up for reading”. There’s about three illustrations in there that didn’t have to move either, so just, I dunno, let me consume the information at my own rate, please? The utter breathlessnes only makes that more apparent and more annoying.

Then they go and beg for money. Yes! Making videos is expensive, hm?

The morsels of information I had to struggle to glean from between all this annoyance were interesting, though, would have loved to not having to struggle for it.


Nice hypothesis, but the next step is to replicate the study described in the video, but with one group of participants instructed to consciously alter their cognitive models as you describe. Then measuring whether or not that has any significant impact on the memory test results.

If it does, you’d get a pretty high-profile publication out of it. Behavioural memory enhancement is a big deal for Alzheimer’s research.


Does the fact that Boing-boing’s comment section is on a page separate from the article/video make you forget more of the article/video?


Can you, though? Mathematically one can, sure, but the machinery our brains use to comprehend space is highly evolved for a subset of task types in a subset of environments, and it is far from a general-purpose computing machine that can be adapted to arbitrary schemas just by thinking about it and deciding that it shall be so. The way that we understand space seems to be, if not hard-wired, at least hard-coded into the cellular automata that are responsible for the wiring. Not to mention, rather intrinsic to the way that we perceive and interact with the real world on a daily basis. How many tasks can you think of that would be aided by a working model that considers the house’s inner surface is contiguous with the outside, compared to modelling it as a series of connected spaces that comprise a unit?

Our capacity for spatial reasoning precedes our capacity for abstract reasoning, and in fact the one may well be the foundational basis for the other. You might like to read this if you have the time:

The essential hypothesis is that the graph-based, object-relation modelling that forms the basis of logic and reasoned thought is a descendant of the graph-based models that we use to navigate the physical world. So when you communicate to me about manifolds, you do so using a language that is informed by the same graph-based mechanics that I use to comprehend a house as a graph of rooms connected by doors, and for my part I attempt to comprehend the manifold-based paradigm by making use of the same machinery. It’s not a true paradigm shift to manifold-based thinking, it’s an emulation on ill-fitting hardware.

Or if you want an entirely different introduction to the power of doorways, you can drink a bottle of cough syrup and try transitioning from one space to another. Manifolds won’t save you :smile:


Why does that house have a brake light?


That’s a Youtube style used to maximize… something. I don’t understand it except that it’s a really lazy way to force people to choose between watching your video and… sanity.


I’m just here to say threshold.




Oh, please. I have been raging about this every day since I was a few years old. Why do people still use flat “up” and “down” even once it has been thoroughly demonstrated to them that they are moving towards or away from the center of a sphere? Why do people insist upon using spatial terms for quantitative relationships? There is not a “higher” or “lower” quantity of anything, because quantity does not directly correspond to a spatial relationship.

Observing this has been easy. Working with people to improve upon it - not so much.