Where did I put my keys?

The object you desire is right behind you.

04-11-13-51-59 / 06

Hello Diner. You most likely forgot about your keys the instant you walked out of the room where you left them. Seriously. In 2010, a University of Notre Dame cognitive psychology research team found that moving from one room to the next will make it easier to forget information about the first room[1]. You probably noticed this effect when you forget what you were going to do on the way to the kitchen.

If only you remembered where you forgot about your keys, right? Good luck if you realized you’ve misplaced them after a full day working around the house. Fortune Cookies do not stalk their Diners at home, so I cannot tell you which specific room it is. Sorry. Fortune Cookies are wise, not psychic.

But, to help you find them and avoid losing your keys in the future, here are some suggestions. Go ahead and use them for things other than your keys. I won’t be angry:

1. Recall distractions. Try to remember when you got distracted and started doing something else. Distractions will disrupt the way your brain encodes memory and make you forget.

2. Take a strong mental note. Because distractions make you forget, it will help to take a good look at your keys and repeat a note to yourself when you put them down.

3. Tether your keys. It worked for mittens; it will work for your keys.

4. Give them a home. You will find your keys as easily as the mailman finding where you live.

5. Use new technology. Bluetooth enabled locating tags and keyless biometric locks exist. Losing your fingerprints is a lot harder than losing metal keys.

Now… What were we talking about again?


[1] Radvansky, G. A., Tamplin, A. K., & Krawietz, S. A. (2010). Walking through doorways causes forgetting: Environmental integration. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 17 (6), 900-904. doi:10.3758/PBR.17.6.900