There's a reason your parents sometimes get your name wrong

Jessica Brown@Jessica_E_Brown
Tuesday 17 January 2017 11:30
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Along with sleepless nights, no free time and no spaghetti hoop-free meals, another downside of being a parent is the perennial confusion of which child is which.

Seriously.

Yes, they may be your pride and joy, but sometimes you'll just get your kid's names mixed up.

Samantha Deffler, a cognitive scientist at Rollins College, Florida, has found there’s actually a reason behind parents’ name mix-ups.

She surveyed 1,700 men and women, and found that mixing up the names of family and friends is actually really common.

Half of the participants said they had been called the wrong name by someone close to them, and in 95 per cent of cases it was a family member.

We’re most likely to mix up the names of people within the same “semantic category”, which is sort of like a folder in our brain - so we confuse the names of people within the “family” folder, or within the “friends” folder.

And that’s not all. People also admitted they had confused names between humans and their pet dogs. In all but one of the 42 incidents where a pet name was involved, the participant called out their dog’s name when they meant to call a family member’s.

The study states:

Overall, our data suggested that dogs are grouped with other (human) family members, much more so than other pets.

So don't be offended next time your mum calls you by the dog's name. It just means you're both in the "family" folder in her brain.

But when you're next over for dinner, maybe just give your bolognese a quick sniff first.

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