I CAN NEVER RE­MEM­BER PEO­PLE’S NAMES. HELP!

Women's Health (South Africa) - - ASK US ANYTHING -

AN­SWER Not to worry: this is one of the most com­mon mem­ory com­plaints peo­ple have, says psy­chi­a­try pro­fes­sor Gary W Small. When you meet some­one, there’s a lot go­ing on: you’re tak­ing in their appearance and body-language cues, shak­ing hands, in­tro­duc­ing your­self. So it’s pretty easy not to ac­tively listen. That said, there are some sim­ple tricks that can help make a name stick. “Our brains are hard­wired to as­so­ciate names with images,” says Small, so look for phys­i­cal de­tails to at­tach to the per­son’s name (is Jen­nifer wear­ing fur? Is Thabo tall?), or pic­ture them hang­ing out with one of your sim­i­larly named friends (or even a celebrity). And af­ter the in­tros are over, re­peat the per­son’s name dur­ing your convo – re­hash­ing in­for­ma­tion helps put it into your mem­ory too.

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