For as long as I can remember, my mom has had trouble calling people by name in my house. It’s not that she doesn’t remember who we are. No, she calls us every name at once. She’ll run through my sister, my dad and finally me before she lands on the right name.
We made fun, but now we know why.
In NPR‘s Morning Edition, Samantha Deffler, cognitive scientist at Rollins College, explains that these name mixups are coming for a really good, scientific reason. The information comes from a survey Deffler did with 1,700 men and women of different ages. My mom how has an excuse for this goof.
Deffler explains in the segment that we tend to group names together in social categories. So, for moms, who Deffler explains are especially prone to this, they’re running through the names of people they love in the family. Children get linked together, husbands and kids, heck, even dogs get tossed in.
“It’s a normal cognitive glitch,” Deffler offers.
This works for dogs, but not so much cats
As the story goes on, Deffler explains that dogs get thrown into the mix, too. In fact, dogs are more likely to occur than cats, hamsters or any other pets. Dogs are just cooler, I guess.