Loughborough University students have conducted the largest study into what allows some people to remember people's names better than others and have come to the remarkable conclusion that it is directly proportional to the number of cuddly toys owned as a child.
"There is a remarkable correlation," said Edward Bere, the sociology student who conceived the study. "We have found that as the number of cuddly toys owned as a child increases, so does the ability to remember names as an adult."
The sociology students have put this correlation down to the children giving their cuddly toys individual names, and being able to remember them all. This ability to remember the names of the cuddly toys extends into adult life as an ability to remember people's names.
"We all know those truly irritating people," said Bere. "The ones who have an uncanny knack to remember the names of everybody at a party, even though they have been introduced just once. Some of them can even remember the names of people they met briefly years previously. I've been greeted by people I didn't recognise, who remembered me from a party I went to when I was fifteen. It's not fair. I wish my parents had let me have more cuddly toys as a child."
Parents of children, as opposed to parents of other kinds of things, should take note of the study. An ability to remember names is related to how well the person gets on in every sphere of life, how good a job they get, how well they do in their exams and how good a partner they get when they settle down.
"We interviewed one girl," said Bere, "she'd had over seventy cuddly toys as a girl, and is now able to memorise the names of over forty people she has only just met. This is a remarkable feat. I was going to include her in my thesis, but I forgot her name."