Is there a name for the lag time of memory for when something in your environment or life changes, and you need to get accustomed to it? It’s kind of a catch-up of memory for updated knowledge to stick.

Ex. Recently we had our kitchen cabinets redone, and for this most food items and even the microwave were moved to temporary places on the other side of the kitchen for 3 weeks while we waited for the re-installation. A week after they were installed, I still find myself turning the wrong direction when I am looking to use the microwave oven in its original place.

Another comedic trope example often employed by Hollywood screenwriters …An American (North or South) transfers to Honkers or London and still finds themselves trying to get in the wrong driver-side of the car even after 3 or 4 days until finally it sticks, but then when they go back home after 6 months the same but opposite happens.

My research comes up with the 21-day rule , but that does not describe the memory issue, and it is mostly discounted.

Maxwell Maltz was a plastic surgeon in the 1950s when he began noticing a strange pattern among his patients. When Dr. Maltz would perform an operation — like a nose job, for example — he found that it would take the patient about 21 days to get used to seeing their new face. Similarly, when a patient had an arm or a leg amputated, Maxwell Maltz noticed that the patient would sense a phantom limb for about 21 days before adjusting to the new situation.

These experiences prompted Maltz to think about his own adjustment period to changes and new behaviors, and he noticed that it also took himself about 21 days to form a new habit. Maltz wrote about these experiences and said, “These, and many other commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell (sic).”


What is that phenomena of catch-up time for memory lag called?



the process or result of becoming accustomed to a new climate or to new conditions.


This is a phenomenon studied in biological sciences, and covers a broad scope. You could narrow it down with mnemonic acclimatisation to specify that it is memory-related.

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