6 Easy-To-Remember Tips That’ll Help You Remember Names

science tips for remembering names

Forgetting someone’s name can range from embarrassing to ginormous screw-up. For example, you come off looking like a boner when you’re caught forgetting a woman’s name that you’ve hooked up with; you look like an incompetent fool for getting called out for forgetting the name of a potential client or business affiliate.

There’s no surefire way to prevent yourself from slipping up — especially if booze is involved — but subtle hints can up your odds of remembering. All of these might not apply to you, but hopefully a handful will. So, now that we’ve gone over introductions, let’s get to work … uh … oh, man, This is embarrassing. What did you say your name was again …


Sleep More
Shave off a mere two hours from your sleep and it can prevent your brain from storing memories, according research presented at the Society for Neuroscience conference in 2012.

Make Yourself Be Present
You’re typically trying to come up with a retort to something the person you’ve just met has just said. Or you’re struggling to maintain a thought or wildly hilarious quip as they’re telling you when they’re explaining who they are and what they do, right? By doing that you’re cluttering your brain and preventing yourself from absorbing the info they’re giving you. Be present and listen only to the person you’re speaking with. So, no checking your phone. No holding onto your hilarious thought. Just let it go and listen to what they’re telling you. Before you break and meet someone else, ask the name again as a backup.

Put a Face To The Name
A 2011 study found that a majority of volunteers who knew the names of new faces before they saw the faces would easily link a name to the respective face. Known as encoding, the study focused on 16 healthy adults as a way to better understand the way the brain works. We read the study (link provided in the first line) and this was the most useful info we could pull. The rest is better reserved for someone like Bill Nye to explain.

Choose A Small Detail About The Person
Find a distinguishing visual detail about the person — hair color, a huge birthmark, an eye patch, etc. — and connect it to the scene where you met. The connection may help spark the name when you see that person again. (“Oh, hey, there’s Birthmark Harry. I met him last year at the annual Dickhead’s Chairity Dinner.”)

Make (Non-Creepy) Eye Contact
Research from 2013 found that a larger number of volunteers who focused on the eyes of new faces remembered the names linked to these faces. Just like fingerprints, eyes usually have a distinguishing character in different individuals. Spending time to focus on a new person’s eyes rather that other parts of their face will help in remembering their names.

Make Physical Associations
Associating a name with a physical object — a state, a country, buildings, signs, etc. — helps the brain build a visual description of the person and distinguish them from others.

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