Feel Good

Why We Call People by the Wrong Name Sometimes

James, Jesse, Jack, John…

BY January 26, 2017

It’s a common mom problem. Someone starts to misbehave, for instance, and Mom shouts out a name of a child, then another, then another … until she lands on the right one.

Everyone goes through a name-scrambling episode, every now and again. Not just moms. And it feels strange to be looking at the person but, for whatever reason, you can’t quite get the name right at first.

This issue is actually in how the brain works, according to a study in Memory & Cognition. Whenever you go to retrieve a name in your brain, it’s like reaching into a folder full of names. Most of the time, you pick the right name. But when rushed, sometimes you just dump the whole folder out.

Don’t worry: It’s fairly common and not an indication of memory loss or dementia. And, from what the researchers found, it does hit one group harder than others: moms.



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