What’s Your Name? Science Explains Why We Forget Names

You know that moment at a party when your stomach drops and you realize you can’t remember the name of the person you just met? Or worse, when it gets to the point when it would be awkward and rude to ask them their name again.

It turns out it’s not as uncommon a phenomenon as you might expect—and most people experience this multiple times in their life.

Thanks to a video from the ASAPScience YouTube channel, you can understand exactly why new people’s names seem to go in one ear and right out the other.

It turns out the human brain is hardwired to remember peoples’ faces better than their actual names.

However when it comes to names, the brain processes them as arbitrary facts of information which makes it harder to associate the name with an individual person.

The video explains that a second component is also at play. In social situations where introductions are being made, you may become preoccupied with your own introduction and are less focused on taking in new information about the other person.

This is called the “next in line” effect. You’re thinking about what you’ll say in response to the situation, and leaves less space in your short-term memory.

Finally, the video concludes that some of the time you just might not care enough about the other person to put the effort into remembering their name.

Check out the video above for the full explanation according to science.