Why Am I Here?

Many of you seemed to like the brain info from the last post so here is some more. Why am I here? We have all asked ourselves that question – maybe not existentially – but during those times when you walk into a room with a specific purpose and suddenly you have no idea why you are there or what you were about to do. (Do not lie to us, it has happened to you too.) Early onset, senility, brain tumor, terminal stupidity – all of these reasons flood your mind as you stand there perplexed and wishing you hadn’t done recreational pharmaceuticals in college (or yesterday).

You can stop worrying – it’s not your fault. It is EST – not the 80’s group human potential craze – but what scientists call Event Segmentation Theory. It is believed that the brain divides experiences into segments in order to provide structure for memory and attention. The brain tracks features of you current environment or experience. An unpredictable change in critical features of the event is perceived as an “event boundary.” These changes could involve color, sound, movement, or the completion of a task. After an even boundary, the brain stores information from the preceding event and leaves out what it might consider to be unimportant information. This serves to assist long-term memory and learning and, in a way, leaves the brain refreshed for the next experience. Due to this phenomenon your memory of something that occurred before the event boundary may not be as strong as your awareness of what is happening in the current event.

Well, after 20 years of research in the field, Notre Dame scientist, Gabriel Rodvansky, has discovered that the act of walking thru a door is perceived by our brains as an event boundary! That thing you were going to do is not as important to your brain anymore as that new room you are standing in. That sure made me feel better so I hope nobody challenges his findings.

So, to combat this you can tear down all your walls and move to an open floor plan OR you could just make yourself more aware of your intentions right before you walk thru that door. I wonder if Rodvansky would have discovered this sooner if he hadn’t been walking thru doors.

Science has now given us absolution for one of our perceived shortcomings – but you should still stay away from the recreational pharmaceuticals and terminally stupid people.