Daydreaming Can Block Recent Memory Recall

GREENSBORO, N.C., July 27 (UPI) — When you daydream, U.S. researchers say, how “far away” you went determines how much you remember of what was going on before your mind wandered.

Daydreaming about an overseas vacation rather than a domestic one, or recalling memories from your more distant past, is more likely to block memories of recent events, a release by the Association for Psychological Science said Monday.


In an experiment, participants looked at a list of words, and then were told to think either of their own home, where they’d been that morning, or about their parents’ homes, where they had not been for some time.

When asked to recall the words on the list, those who thought about the place they’d been just hours before remembered more of the words than those who thought back several weeks.

In a separate experiment, those who thought about a vacation within the United States remembered more words than those who thought about a vacation abroad, suggesting the content of daydreams affects the ability to access a recently acquired memory, the release said.

The findings could come in handy for someone who wants to forget about something, researchers say.

“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,” Peter F. Delaney of the University of North Carolina says.

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