Here are 3 common things that can make us behave in odd ways:

  • #1: Doors. If you’ve recently walked into a room and forgotten what you were after, don’t worry. It’s not early Alzheimer’s. Psychologists at Notre Dame have discovered that passing through a doorway triggers something called an event boundary that separates one set of memories from the next. In other words, our brains file away the thoughts we had in the previous room to prepare a blank slate for the new location. 

  • And anyone who uses a cell phone is familiar with this next one: Phantom phone calls. Your brain has to filter out a tremendous amount of sensory data so it has room to focus on what’s important to you. And the sound of your phone is one of those things your brain is attuned to, like the sound of your name being called, or your baby crying. So your brain may pick up on a sound that’s similar to your phone, and make you think someone is calling, even if your phone is silent. 

  • The final common thing that can confuse our brains: Wide open spaces. Have you ever wondered why people lost in the desert walk in circles? According to researchers, every step we take causes a small deviation in the brain's vestibular system. In addition to helping us balance, the vestibular system plays a role in our sense of where we are, but it’s not entirely accurate. When we have a landmark to guide us, we automatically correct for the deviation. But without any external point of reference, we walk in increasingly tight circles.