Ever Wonder Why You Always Forget People’s Names? Experts Provide Answers

Ever Wonder Why You Always Forget People’s Names? Experts Provide Answers

What’s your name again?

We’ve all been there: meeting or being introduced to someone for the first time and seconds later forgetting his or her name. You rack your brain trying to remember, but you just can’t seem to even come up with the first letter. Then you get frustrated and wonder, “Why is it that I find it so difficult to remember people’s names?”

After a while you shrug it off and say to yourself it’s just how you were born, but that’s not really it. According to some experts, our levels of interest have a lot to do with how well we remember names.


Recalling a person’s name has something to do with our interest levels.

“Some people, perhaps those who are more socially aware, are just more interested in people, more interested in relationships,” Richard Harris, Kansas State University’s professor of psychology explains. “They would be more motivated to remember somebody’s name.”

This applies for people in professions like teaching and politics where knowing names is beneficial. However, if one isn’t interested in the person they are talking to, or knows they won’t meet that person again, they are less likely to store the information because it is of little use to them.

Mitchell Moffit and Greg Brown, creators of the popular and seriously scientific YouTube channel AsapScience, say our brains are hardwired to recognize facial details like nose length, eye color and mouth shape. However, when it comes to names, which to us are completely arbitrary titles (not interesting), it’s a more challenging task for our brains to recall.


“Because names are random and hold no specific information in them,” they explain, “the brain struggles to retain them… And if the brain can’t make connections between multiple pieces of information, particularly things that are already familiar to the individual, it’s more likely to forget it.”

Moreover, in what is referred to as the “next-in-line” effect, the pair add: “Instead of watching and listening to the other [person], the brain starts focusing on its own routine—what they’ll say and how they’ll say it.”

This is mostly what happens when you are introduced to a stranger. You focus too much on what you are going to say that you fail to pay attention to what the other person is saying, such as his or her name.


But, just because you can’t remember someone’s name doesn’t mean you have a bad memory.

Your brain’s just trying to avoid information overloading.

Try as you may to recall, but details such as a person’s name just take several hours to be consolidated in the brain, especially where there was no prior motivation or interest to keep it in mind.

According to memory experts at University of Sussex, you can actually be forgiven for forgetting the name of a new acquaintance just minutes after you’ve been introduced. That’s because while memories can be recalled several hours after learning them, they are inaccessible to us for a period.


It is not fully understood why we have these memory lapses, but scientists believe it is a necessary part of the brain’s process to avoid overloading with information. Dr Ildiko Kemenes, one of the experts at the University of Sussex, explains:

“Memory formation is an energy-consuming process,” she says “The brain has a restricted capacity to learn things and preventing some memory formation would be a way to avoid overload.”

The key to a good memory, it seems, lies in levels of interest. The more interest you show in a subject, the more likely it will imprint itself on your brain. If someone strikes you as particularly interesting, it will also seem like you are not really using your memory to recall their name.

So, don’t take it personally if someone doesn’t remember your name. They’re probably not trying to be mean. Introduce yourself again, but this time try to be more interesting.

Featured photo credit: vissago via

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Last Updated on June 21, 2018

Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

“For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

Primal Therapy

Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.


How it Started

“During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

“I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

Delving deeper

Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

Some Methods To Practice Screaming

If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!


  • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
  • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
  • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
  • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

Scream Sing

Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.


  • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
  • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
  • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
  • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
  • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
  • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
  • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

Scream into a pillow

Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.


Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via

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