The list my mother used to go through when preparing to yell at me about whatever it was I was doing wrong. Mark and Ted are my younger brothers, while Prince was not a rock star but a black and tan German Shepherdish dog that we adopted when I was 12.
So what? From Duke University: Why we mix up the names of people in our family (and why we include dogs, and not cats)
“It’s a cognitive mistake we make, which reveals something about who we consider to be in our group,” says Duke University psychology and neuroscience professor David Rubin, one of the study authors. “It’s not just random.”As long as Georgia doesn't mix me up with Skye.
The new paper, based on five separate surveys of more than 1,700 respondents, appears online in the journal Memory and Cognition.
Many of the patterns didn’t surprise lead author and PhD student Samantha Deffler. One did, though. In addition to mixing up sibling for sibling and daughter for son, study participants frequently called other family members by the name of the family pet—but only when the pet was a dog. Owners of cats or other pets didn’t commit such slips of the tongue.
Deffler says she was surprised how consistent that finding was, and how often it happened. “I’ll preface this by saying I have cats and I love them,” Deffler says. “But our study does seem to add to evidence about the special relationship between people and dogs.
“Also, dogs will respond to their names much more than cats, so those names are used more often. Perhaps because of that, the dog’s name seems to become more integrated with people’s conceptions of their families.”