`Recalling distance events may help forget disturbing things`
Washington: Want to forget a recent tragedy?
Recall your experience of a foreign vacation, as scientists
say remembering about a distance event may help forget
something happened in the recent past.
A team of scientists from the University of North
Carolina and Florida State University found that it`s hard to
remember something happened in the recent past when your mind
drifts and the effect is stronger when your mind drifts
According to them, context is important to remember
someting and if one leaves the place where a memory was made,
or the context, it will be harder for you to recall the
Previous studies had also found that thinking about
something else -- daydreaming or mind-wandering -- blocks
access to memories of the recent past.
For their study, the researchers carried out two
experiments. In the first one, each participant looked at a
list of words as they appeared on a computer screen, one at a
Then they were told to think either about home -- where
they`d been that morning -- or about their parents` house --
where they hadn`t been in several weeks. Next, the subjects
were shown a second list of words.
At the end of the test, they had to recall as many of the
words from the two lists as possible.
Participants who had thought about the place they`d been
only a few hours before remembered more of the words from the
first list than did participants who had thought back several
The same was true for memories about place, tested in a
second experiment. Those who thought about a vacation within
the US remembered more words than those who thought about a
According to the researchers, one practical application
of the research might be for people who want to forget about
"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,"
said Peter F Delaney of the University of North Carolina.
"It can help you feel like you`re in a different
The study is published in Psychological Science, a
journal of the Association for Psychological Science.