Hi, Karen. I mean, Emily. Mixing up names more common than you think

More than 95% of parents call their children by the wrong name, but it’s not necessarily a sign of memory loss

As a parent, you’ve likely experienced the frustration and embarrassment of calling your child by their sibling’s or your pet’s name. You’re not alone, and you’re not losing your mind. In fact, a recent TikTok video has brought a 2016 Duke University study back into the spotlight, revealing this phenomenon is extremely common.

The researchers analyzed more than 1,700 participants across five studies and found that more than 95% of participants reported being called the wrong name by a family member at some point. The findings suggest mixing up names is a natural cognitive glitch and not a sign of memory loss or cognitive decline.


TIL: Psychology behind MISNAMING 🧠 a study suggests mixing up people’s names is completely normal and by no means a sign of bad memory or aging. Samantha Deffler, a cognitive scientist at Rollins College, in Winter Park, Florida., surveyed 1,700 men and women of various ages and found people often mixed the names of family and friends. She says this is a ‘cognitive glitch’ resulting from how the brain categorizes and stores these names. So the brain uses different “folders” for different names. The names of people closest to our social circle are stored in their own folder while the names of acquaintances, distant relatives or people you just recently met are stored in another folder. A fun finding was that some family members even called one another by the family’s dogs name. Deffler also recalls one young man who called his girlfriend by his sister’s name. To which the girlfriend said “that’s probably a bad sign.” Misnamings also occur when names share the initial or internal sounds, like John Johnnie or Bob. However physical appearance and gender was not a factor So next time someone calls you by a different name, don’t take it personally, but it does give you a clue that you belong to a certain relationship pond in that persons mind. Follow for more! #memorycognition #psychology #funfacts #misnaming #siblings #relationships source: zmescience.com ; scientificamerican.com ; ib: a convo with my sister and her learnings from her university psych class!

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So, why does this happen? According to Good Housekeeping, it’s all about automatic processes. When we’re stressed out or multitasking, our brains rely on these automatic responses to quickly retrieve the information we need.

“The brain is a magnificent computer network,” Julie Dumas, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry, told the lifestyle brand, “and information is organized within an interconnected semantic network of stored data.”

Almost half the participants in the Duke University study reported the person doing the misnaming was distracted, tired or frustrated at the time. This is why you might find yourself calling your spouse by your child’s name when you’re racing around the house.

“When you’re rushed, stressed or multi-tasking, you rely on these automatic responses to spit out the information you need — in this case, your child’s name,” Dumas explained. “For example, my son Emmett’s name is on speed dial in my brain, so I often call my husband and even our cat by that name if I’m racing around the house.”

Although mixing up names is not necessarily a sign of forgetfulness or aging, it’s understandable to worry. However, if you don’t realize you’ve used the wrong moniker, or if others start noticing significant memory problems, it may be worth seeking medical advice, Good Housekeeping noted.

In the meantime, take comfort in knowing that mixing up your kids’ names is a normal and natural occurrence.