I was wondering about a rather remarkable phenomenon regarding how we recollect reminders. I've read stories where people keep a pillow, or even figures and dolls, near their door to make them remember specific tasks. And they do, upon seeing that object. How does our brain remember those reminders?

I searched online about this and found a lot of tips (like the above - dolls, pillows, etc) rather than explanations. I'm not sure if it has to do with memory (or how it even works) which is why I'm asking here. Thanks!


How does the mechanism behind a pillow set up at a door as a reminder differs from remembering that the pillow is called a pillow? In other words, as far as I can see, this question basically asks how memory works. That question can fill libraries and would be out of scope here.

Why the example stated in the question helps remembering stuff is, imho, simply because it is just that a salient (a pillow belongs in bed, so it catches the eye) visual reminder (people are visually oriented creatures) positioned at a place that you are certain to pass in the morning (the door) will help you remember to do something you planned to do. Importantly, a salient object will grab ones attention during highly automated behaviors (wake up - eat - brush teeth - grab bicycle - go to work... - huh? What's that pillow... oh yeah!). This all doesn't seem to be such a remarkable phenomenon at all?


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