For many of us, recognizing faces is much easier than remembering names. But did you know that there’s a scientific reason behind it? If you think you have a brain like a sieve, then Wacky Word Wednesday is here to jog your memory. We’ll delve into the science of memory and learn how to get better at remembering things.
A tendency to forget names.
Lethonomia, derived from Latin letho, ‘lie hidden, forget,’ and nomina, ‘name,’ refers to the inability to recall someone’s name. It’s a rare word which should be used more often because we frequently suffer from this condition. Another word that is similar in meaning to lethonomia is loganamnosis, which means an obsession for trying to recall forgotten words or a specific word. People with loganamnosis often get distracted in conversation, because they end up focusing on trying to remember the word they are looking for.
Apparently, there’s a scientific reason for having lethonomia. According to memory experts at the University of Sussex, memories can be recalled several hours after learning them, but they are inaccessible to us for a period. Scientists believe such lapses are a necessary part of the brain’s process to prevent information overload. But let’s be careful not to blame it all on your brain. Psychology Professor Richard Harris from Kansas State University said the reason we can’t remember people’s names is because we have little interest in them.
“The key to a good memory is your level of interest. The more interest you show in a topic, the more likely it will imprint itself on your brain,” Harris said.
One of the leading voices on memorization is Joshua Foer, a freelance journalist who won the U.S. Memory Championship in 2006. Author of Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, Foer suggested that if you want to make something memorable, you first have to make it meaningful.
And to help you better understand lethonomia, check out these examples below:
- My husband’s lethonomia is so severe he often brings crib sheets to family gatherings. (Live Journal)
- It’s very embarrassing to be stricken with acute lethonomia when I have to make introductions at a party. (word4that.com)
- I’d like to introduce you to my new girlfriend, but my lethonomia is acting up today. (The Register-Herald)
We hope you’ve learned something from today’s edition of Wacky Word Wednesday. See you next time as we turn the spotlight on another peculiar word.
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