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.

Related: Bad With Names? Don't Blame Yourself, Blame Your Brain

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.

Related: You Can't Remember Names Because You're Not Paying Attention

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.

Related: Did You Choose Your Job Based On Your Name?

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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Watch And Learn: Our Favorite Videos About Names

Why Your Mom Calls You The Wrong Name

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

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7 Clever Tricks To Remember Names

Face it, we all need some help in this department.

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Why Do You Forget Their Name?

How many times have you instantly forgotten someone's name after meeting them?

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Brains have a hard time remembering information that seems arbitrary or disconnected from other information. 00:22

  2. The "next in line" effect refers to when your brain focuses on its own routine and thoughts rather than absorbing information from somewhere else. 00:56

  3. The more interested you are in something, the more likely your brain is to make new connections. 01:35

Written by Curiosity Staff January 27, 2017