Here’s the trick to remembering someone’s name

Do you ever meet someone really cool and decide that you two are going to be friends? And then literally like, three minutes later you’ve completely forgotten their name so you can’t even go home and add them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter? It’s happened to most of us before, and it’s bound to happen again. But next time, there might be a way to avoid this whole situation, and lock the name into your memory once and for all. Science might have just figured out the way to do this.

According to a brand new study, the best way to remember someone’s name is to repeat it. Not necessarily to yourself in your head a few times, but to say their name out loud in a conversation. Did you just meet someone named Jennifer? Then turn to another friend and say, “I just met this really cool girl named Jennifer!”

“We knew that repeating aloud was good for memory, but this is the first study to show that if it is done in a context of communication, the effect is greater in terms of information recall,” Victor Boucher, a professor in the University of Montreal’s Department of Linguistics and Translation and one of the lead authors on this brand new study in the Consciousness and Cognition journal explained in a statement.

For this study, the researchers tested a group of 44-students who were asked to read some words, and try and remember them. Then, the students had their memory tested through four different ways: repeating the words in their head; repeating the words silently while forming the words with their lips; repeating the words aloud while looking at the screen with the words; and repeating the words aloud in conversation while addressing someone.

The result? Speaking aloud in conversation is the best way to remember something. “The simple fact of articulating without making a sound creates a sensorimotor link that increases our ability to remember, but if it is related to the functionality of speech, we remember even more,” Boucher explained. “The results of our research confirm the importance of motor sensory experiences in memory retention and help to better define sensory episodes associated with verbal expression.”

Or, in simpler terms, it’s one thing to repeat the name in your head, and it’s something different to say the name verbally to someone else during small talk. You might think it’s weird to immediately repeat a name back, but it’ll should save you the struggle of frantically trying to remember it later.

Image via Giphy