Curious Parents

If Your Mom Calls You Your Sibling's Name, Don't Worry. It Means She Loves You Both

A mother's stammered attempts at calling the right kid by the right name is no new phenomenon. Sure, it may feel like she thinks of you as last on the list when she goes through your older sisters' names before saying yours, but that's not the case. (Probably not, anyway.) When your mom calls you by the wrong name it basically means she loves you, and she also loves the kids whose names she called you first.

Your Mom Loves You, That's All

Don't get salty with mom if she calls you the wrong name from time to time. This little cognitive glitch is totally normal. Jumbling up names before landing on the correct one happens, but it only occurs with names in the same category. What that means is this: Your brain organizes familiar names into categories, so when your mom calls you by your sister's names, it's just her brain quickly grabbing a name from the "loved ones" pile. This finding was published in April 2016 in the journal Memory & Cognition. Kind of sweet, if you think about it.

It's Not Just Moms ... But It's Mostly Moms

According to Samantha Deffler, a cognitive scientist at Rollins College, and her team, most everyone mixes up the names of family and friends on occasion. As NPR reports, "It's not related to a bad memory or to aging, but rather to how the brain categorizes names." However, one group is especially prone to this little mix-up, NPR reports. "Moms, especially moms," Deffler says. "Any mom I talked to says, 'You know, I've definitely done this.'"

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Why Your Mom Calls You The Wrong Name

It makes it much harder when parents name their children similar or alliterative names.

Written by Joanie Faletto January 27, 2017

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