We have all been there. Our mother calls for one sibling and uses the wrong name, maybe even multiple times. In my family there are several names beginning with “M” and she usually goes through them all before she gets to the one originally intended. Turns out, there is a scientific reason for this humorous and sometimes frustrating error. This information came from the Mirror in their article, “Why parents often get their kids’ names wrong and confuse you with your siblings – or even the dog.”

Researchers from Duke University in North Carolina, USA, conducted five studies across 1,700 people, investigating why this misnaming occurs. They found that familiar individuals are often misnamed with the name of another member of the same semantic category.

The study found that phonetic similarity between names does lead to misnamings, but the semantic category effect was a bigger cause of people getting names wrong. This is true even if she includes the dog’s name in the list of misnames. It just means she loves you as much as the dog, which in our family is a great compliment.

Melody K. Smith

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