What Does Your Name Mean and Why Care?

      13 Comments on What Does Your Name Mean and Why Care?

How do you open a new class, workshop or mentor circle?  Speak people’s name with care, and research affirms you will spark their brain’s sense of worth, and add value to their day. How does it happen?

Your name links to intrapersonal intelligence, which also warehouses personal traits such as common sense. Think of it as an embedded icon central to your brain’s vital symbols. Names become tools to build meaning, care and confidence with every thoughtful action connecting them to a person’s value. It’s also true that your own name offers you vital possibilities. How so?

Your handle’s a brand of sorts – the essence of you – a lynchpin that defines you.  So it’s no surprise that the brain associates certain unique traits with your name.

Does your J-Doe sparkle with colors you’d like others to see in you?

Use names to value others

Personal reflections you leave at a blog site, and questions you pose to people – pack a punch when comments link to names.

You may come to issues with a particular view – yet you unleash new intrapersonal intelligence when you use names well.

It’s not easy to remember names, since brains are more equipped to forget a name than to remember one. How so?

Why working memory ejects names

New names enter your working memory which is designed to hold very few facts at a time. Names tossed around in conversation, for instance,  soon spill out to make room in the working memory for new information spoken.

Simply stated, new  handles heard, quickly get displaced with conversation that follows. It’s the brain’s way of freeing itself to hold key facts you are focusing on at any moment.

Names worth valuing

To hear your name spoken respectfully, is to spike wellbeing in the area of the brain that operates personal self-awareness. Researchers applied PET scans to look at activity in the brain whenever people hear their first name spoken. They observed a strong cerebral flow change in the brain’s right superior temporal sulcus. An even stronger change of flow was observed in the medial prefrontal cortex. This change to show a stronger flow suggests that this region plays a big role in a person’s processing of “self.”

Develop brain capacity to cherish names

I found that research particularly interesting since I’ve just been given a new name by Chinese leaders I taught for six weeks on the Yangtze. Know what my Chinese name means? Capture3

Dr. Robyn McMaster, late senior VP here at the MITA Center was also given a iconic Chinese name. Know what Robyn’s new name means? Mine, the top name pictured here – means unusual or unique intelligence – Robyn’s name, pictured below, means first song, birds and flowers of spring.

What does your name mean?

You’d also enjoy research on name values assigned to the brain at Neuropsychologia, in Volume43 (1), on pages 12 to 19.

Anybody you might name at work, as you listen to hear your own name spoken back in a few favorable ways?

Looking for ways to value names in classes you teach or groups you mentor? If so you will find student-ready, (no prep needed) tags and tasks to energize your new term at my TpT site.

Related tool: Yearly planner with brain boosters and prompts to reboot your brain so that you tap and develop hidden and unused capabilities.

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13 thoughts on “What Does Your Name Mean and Why Care?

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  6. eweber Post author

    I agree Jim, and that’s what so cool about transferring the research into tools to improve a situation. makes sense from so many levels and adds adventure to what we sensed was so:-)

  7. eweber Post author

    Robyn, that was quite a memorable experience, I agree, especially because the fun and facts seems to be flying around the room the entire time. No wonder we grew to know and care about one another as leaders – who also chose to be learners together! A cool experience!

  8. eweber Post author

    Karen, thanks for your encouraging words! Robyn and I were deeply moved by the honor of working with and learning from wonderful Chinese leaders and the fact they offered us names etched this memory in our brains too:-) Their generosity made us all learn more by working together!

  9. Karen Swim

    Ellen, this is so cool to get the science behind the theory! I knew that using a person’s name created a connection but that is so neat to hear what is happening in the brain. I believe that for you and Robyn the Chinese names are extremely fitting!

    Karen Swims last blog post..Blue Days

  10. eweber Post author

    Gary, like you I was so unaware of that value! With modern technology we are learning daily how many amazing ways the brain helps us to build stronger communities in rather ordinary ways!

    Reason for repeating name to remember is because the name first sits in the working memory, which is equipped to hold a very few bits of information at a time. With new facts and our shift of focus – the facts (in working memory) flee from consciousness. We keep it there by repeating it, and eventually it moves to basil ganglia – where it sticks in more permanent ways to be retrieved:-) You’re right – it’s kind of cool:-)

  11. GaryD

    Very cool Ellen! Using peoples names often when talking to them is a good habit to get into. I never really considered the value it brings others. And when repeating someones name with someone you’ve just met, it reinforces your memory of that persons name as well.

    GaryDs last blog post..Top 10 Things That Can Shrink Your Brain

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