Now where did I put my…

A research project was reported on the BBC PM programme recently which said that if you are looking for something you will be more successful at finding it if you repeat the name of the item out loud several times.
So how does that work?  I don’t know what the researchers concluded but I think that when you are looking for something you probably go into one of several everyday trances:
  • Negative Hallucination –  where something is in front of you and you just don’t see it.  This could be because you are using focussed vision and you just do not see things around the periphery. 
  • Age progression – this is where you start imagining the future in which there are negative consequences associated with not finding the lost item eg “I can’t find my purse and that means that I’m going to be late for work and my boss will be annoyed…”
  • Age regression – this is where you start to imagine what happened previously when you couldn’t find something eg “The last time I couldn’t find a file my supervisor made me stay late to get the work finished…”
  • Time distortion – you might imagine that you have been looking for the item for much longer than you have and this makes you anxious about being late.
Do any of those sound familiar?  Once you are in your trance, it makes the task of finding something more difficult as you become more stressed.  By repeating the name of the item you interrupt your trance and start to be more effective at looking for and finding things.
Now, where are my glasses, glasses, glasses….