APS logoWhen daydreaming about a past event, we are unable to pay attention and concentrate on what is happening at present. A latest study suggests that this effect is stronger when your mind drifts in a more distant place. So an individual daydreaming about an overseas vacation possibly faces more difficulty in remembering the happenings of the present.

Context is known to be an essential factor for recalling events. Prior investigations have suggested that mind-wandering disallows an individual to recall memories of the recent past. The study aims to determine the influence of the contents in a daydream on the ability for remembering a recently-acquired memory.

During the first experiment, study participants were made to visually examine a list of words appearing on the computer screen, one at a time. These volunteers were then made to recall about their home or the way they had spent their morning or about their parents’ house where they hadn’t been for many weeks. Then the participants were exposed to another list of words. Finally, the participants had to educe as many of the words from the two lists as possible.

Peter F. Delaney, psychological scientist quoted, “If there’s something you don’t feel like thinking about, you’re better off remembering a more distant event than a close event, to try to put it out of your mind for a while. It can help you feel like you’re in a different situation.”

The outcome was that volunteers thinking about the place they’d been only a few hours before possibly recalled more words from the first list. But participants remembering events taken place weeks ago were probably capable of revealing less number of words. Similar results were apparently noted in a second experiment. Individuals recalling their vacation within the U.S. seemingly listed more words as compared to those recalling a vacation spent abroad.

The study is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.