Most people have had the experience of walking into a room and forgetting why you are there or what you planned to do.

Notre Dame scientist Gabriel Radvansky spent nearly 20 years working to find out why that happens, and he finally thinks he has an answer.

Radvansky used computer-based and real-world experiments to observe how people's memories responded to changing surroundings.

In both experiment types, walking through a doorway yielded increased error rates in in responding to memory questions.

A brain phenomenon known as "event boundary" is thought to be responsible for the memory lapse. Brains compartmentalize events and associate them with the environment in which they occured. When moving from one room to another, the brain essentially files away the thoughts generated in that room.

Unfortunately, there is not a way to prevent it from happening. 

"Doorways are bad," Radvansky joked. "Avoid them at all costs."

Read more: Scientific American

Photo credit: svilen001/stock.xchng