The results are in: Not remembering names can be a true downer.
Sociologists at Brigham Young University have finally concluded their five-year study on memory loss and depression and found that the two correlate more than previously thought. The focus of the study was to understand the main causes of depression at BYU. While results varied, the overwhelming majority of subjects were crippled into depression because of “the fear of seeing someone I know but I can’t remember their name.”
“It’s hard to talk about,” says sophomore David Teller. “If I see a missionary companion or girl from an old ward or even that friend of my roommate’s friend’s brother and I am not sure of their name, I’ll run home, hide in a corner and watch Gilmore Girls for a week until I feel better.”
Sociologist and professor Ted Pillsmore said, “BYU is a perfect breeding ground for this fear, numoblitaphobia (fear of forgetting a name). With so many students and so many ward socials, most students find themselves forgetting around 90% of names told to them and 99% of majors associated with that name.”
Karen Fillmon, a graduate student studying sociology, explained that “the culture of BYU tends to lead to increased cases of numoblitaphobia. We have to shake everybody’s hands, tell them our major and where we’re from. It’s basically a depression time bomb.” Fillmon, a New York City native, expressed that the seeming need to be inquisitively polite to every single person has been a detriment to BYU for years.
While the study was not originally prescriptive, the BYU administration has been quick to take action to cure numoblitophobia on campus. Starting Fall 2013, all students will be required to “display their first given name or preferred name clearly within 2 to 3 inches below the collar.” One administrator suggested, “Students should expect shortages of name tags at most stores and consider purchasing a permanent name tag to wear throughout their time at BYU. Missionary name tags are not acceptable.”