Why The Brain Scrambles Names Of People We Love

Our brain scrambles names of people we love.


Have you experienced calling your brother or sister, or your loved one by another familiar name? Or, did your parents or siblings call you by another person’s name? Don’t worry, we have an experience like this. A scientific study says it happens to all people across the globe.

But why misnamings happen? Why did you call your brother George while in fact, his name is Roger? And why most of the time misnaming happens in situations wherein you’re in haste?

How the brain stores memory of names?

Cognitive researchers Samantha Deffler, Cassidy Fox, Christin Ogle and David Rubin recently published a study on this phenomenon. There were 1,700 male and female participants of different ages. The finding suggests that misnaming happens to all participants. All participants experience mix up of names of their family members.

The researchers suggest that the phenomenon is not due to memory deterioration, but how the human brain actually works. Like computers, or ordinary cabinet in your office, the brain stores information in the folders. And folders can be many depending on the number of categories. The names of your siblings, parents, friends, or acquaintances, are stored in different folders.

If you utter the wrong name, it means that such a name belongs to the same folder. The researchers noted that;

Overall, the misnaming of familiar individuals is driven by the relationship between the misnamer, misnamed, and named; phonetic similarity between the incorrect name used by the misnamer and the correct name also plays a role in misnaming.

If you are in a hurry for instance, (when you are carrying heavy groceries and you call for help) you tend to call the wrong name. This is because your brain is in hurry to locate the corresponding name in a folder. But because the folder contains many names, it tends to pull out the wrong one.

In addition, misnaming also happens when calling a pet. The more intriguing is that it only happens in the dog’s name, not in a cat. This may suggest that dogs are close friends of humans than other pets.

So next time you call a wrong name, notice how it is related to the person you are actually calling. Does the conclusion of the study correct?

Please leave your findings (opinion) below.

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