Walking through doorways causes forgetting: Environmental integration

Abstract

Memory for objects declines when people move from one location to another (the location updating effect). However, it is unclear whether this is attributable to event model updating or to task demands. The focus here was on the degree of integration for probed-for information with the experienced environment. In prior research, the probes were verbal labels of visual objects. Experiment 1 assessed whether this was a consequence of an item-probe mismatch, as with transfer-appropriate processing. Visual probes were used to better coordinate what was seen with the nature of the memory probe. In Experiment 2, people received additional word pairs to remember, which were less well integrated with the environment, to assess whether the probed-for information needed to be well integrated. The results showed location updating effects in both cases. These data are consistent with an event cognition view that mental updating of a dynamic event disrupts memory.

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Correspondence to Gabriel A. Radvansky.

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This research was supported in part by a grant from the Army Research Institute, ARMY-DASW01-02-K-0003, and by funding from J. Chris Forsythe of Sandia National Laboratories.

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Radvansky, G.A., Tamplin, A.K. & Krawietz, S.A. Walking through doorways causes forgetting: Environmental integration. Psychon Bull Rev 17, 900–904 (2010). https://doi.org/10.3758/PBR.17.6.900

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Keywords

  • Word Pair
  • Probe Trial
  • Situation Model
  • Verbal Label
  • Response Time Data