I have memory problems. Specifically, I have a problem remembering people’s names.
Which is why this article at ScienceDaily.com caught my eye.
The article begins, “Most of us have experienced it. You are introduced to someone, only to forget his or her name within seconds. You rack your brain trying to remember, but can’t seem to even come up with the first letter. Then you get frustrated and think, “Why is it so hard for me to remember names?”
All these years, I presumed I had a faulty or weak memory. I was relieved to find that this may not be the case at all.
It appears that lack of interest, not the brain’s ability (or lack thereof) may be why we forget!
According to Kansas State University’s Richard Harris, professor of psychology, it’s not necessarily your brain’s ability that determines how well you can remember names, but rather your level of interest.
“Some people, perhaps those who are more socially aware, are just more interested in people, more interested in relationships,” Harris said. “They would be more motivated to remember somebody’s name.”
This goes for people in professions like politics or teaching where knowing names is beneficial. But just because someone can’t remember names doesn’t mean they have a bad memory.
“Almost everybody has a very good memory for something,” Harris said.
The key to a good memory is your level of interest, he said. The more interest you show in a topic, the more likely it will imprint itself on your brain. If it is a topic you enjoy, then it will not seem like you are using your memory.
This explains a lot, really, since I generally find most people singularly uninteresting.
It’s not that other people are somehow unimportant or that their lives and problems are invalid. It’s just that they don’t interest me, usually. There are exceptions, of course. Rare ones.
The general rule, however, is that most people I meet are a dusk-to-dawn snooze-a-thon.