From time to time, the researchers gave them a pop quiz, asking which object was currently in their backpack.The quiz was timed so that when they walked through a doorway, they were tested right afterwards.We all know why such forgetting happens: we didn’t pay enough attention, or too much time passed, or it just wasn’t important enough.
Should that occur, run, don’t walk, towards WMT stock!
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Participants traversed a real-world environment, carrying physical objects and setting them down on actual tables.
The objects were carried in shoeboxes to keep participants from peeking during the quizzes, but otherwise the procedure was more or less the same as in virtual reality.
The French poet Paul Valéry once said, “The purpose of psychology is to give us a completely different idea of the things we know best.” In that spirit, consider a situation many of us will find we know too well: You're sitting at your desk in your office at home.
Digging for something under a stack of papers, you find a dirty coffee mug that’s been there so long it’s eligible for carbon dating. You pick up the mug, walk out the door of your office, and head toward the kitchen.
Their task was to pick up the object and take it to another table, where they would put the object down and pick up a new one.
Whichever object they were currently carrying was invisible to them, as if it were in a virtual backpack.
By the time you get to the kitchen, though, you've forgotten why you stood up in the first place, and you wander back to your office, feeling a little confused—until you look down and see the cup.