How to Actually Remember People's Names

Olde Hornet

Well-Known Member

How to Actually Remember People's Names​

These tips can keep you from greeting someone with "Hey ... you!" ever again.

I doubt I’ll ever become a “super-recognizer,” someone with exceptional face recognition abilities. Still, I set out to learn ways to improve name recall with the help of two experts: a neurosurgeon and a world record holder in memory.

You Know the Face, Why Not the Name?
Studies like this one, from the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, suggest that we’re better at remembering names than faces. In my case, the opposite is true. I’ll recognize a face, but their name escapes me. It turns out that one of the reasons is I’m not giving my brain a chance to process the information.

“The hippocampus is key to our ability to take two things that are not associated in our minds and put them together,” says Dr. Bradley Lega, associate professor of neurological surgery at UT Southwestern/Texas Health Resources in Dallas. When you meet someone whose name and face aren’t previously associated in your mind, your hippocampus plays an important role in putting these things together into a single memory. That gives you the ability to know how to address the person. The good news: Familiar names no longer depend on your hippocampus.