Remember Names Game

How to Play

  1. Remember the names of the people in the pictures as they introduce themselves.
  2. Type in their names when prompted. (case-insensitive, but spelling matters)

Warning: The pictures used in this game were randomly collected and some of them may be odd, but that just adds to the fun.

The below information is from Kevin Trudeau's MEGA MEMORY program, and can help you improve your memory by 500% or more!

There is no such thing as a good or bad memory, only a trained or untrained memory!

You can access the area of your brain that never forgets. It's called the knowledge bank, and it stores information like your name, the alphabet, words to nursery rhymes you learned as a child and events in your life that you can never forget. Information in the knowledge bank is permanent.
The following techniques actually teach you to hook new information into the knowledge bank. These techniques stimulate neurotransmitters in your brain to instantly increase your memory and mental capacity.

An Important Fundamental Concept

The Mind Thinks In Pictures

Important Concepts

You remember virtually everything you see and think about. If it come through the senses, it is committed to memory.

How Your Memory Works:

Short-Term Memory— Recalls things you hear, see and think about for a few seconds to several hours.

Long-Term Memory— Accessible long-term
(knowledge bank)
Information you couldn't forget if you tried: your name, address, etc.

Inaccessible long-term
All other experiences recorded by the human tape recorder (the ear), the human camera (the eyes) and all other senses.

Your mind is like a file cabinet.

When you have a trained memory, your mind is organized. Things you hear, see or think go into mental files so they can be recalled easily.

With an untrained memory, the files are literally jumbled together, thrown onto the floor.

Important Definition

Linking in a ludicrous, nonsensical fashion a vivid picture of a pre-established peg and a vivid picture of the thing you want to remember.

Remember VIA:

Vivid Visualization, Imagination and Active Action

All of the pictures you use in your mind when pegging must be vivid and crystal clear.

They must be in color, they must be detailed, they must be real in your mind's eye.

Your imagination will become more stimulated; your mind will be capable of doing more.

It will also be more relaxed, and your body will have less stress.

Not only will your memory improve, but so will your problem-solving ability, your creativity and your lightheartedness.

You may even sleep better and smile more.

Three Things You Need to Remember Anything

  1. A place to put the information (a peg, a hook, mental file folder, etc.)
  2. A vivid picture of what you want to remember
  3. Mental glue holding the picture on the peg (action! action! action!)

Important Concept

The mental glue you need is ACTIVE ACTION! Active action is any type of fast movement - running, jumping, smashing. Passive action - talking, sitting, walking - is weak mental glue and, thus, is not as useful when pegging.

Things to Keep in Mind While Pegging

1. Exaggeration: always exaggerate your pictures, making them bigger than life
2. The Senses: pictures should be extremely vivid, in color and so real you can smell, hear and feel them
3. Animation: use your imagination to make pictures of inanimate objects come to life
4. Action: the best type is nonsensical, ludicrous, crazy

More, More, More!

More action, more movements, more stories, more scenes.
Boring is bad!

A Key Question When Pegging

What was my action?

Let's Play Concentration!

(sort of)

Have you watched the TV game show Concentration?

In this show, pictures appear on a big board and contestants try to figure out what words the pictures represent.

In our version of Concentration, we will be doing the exact opposite: taking words, breaking them down by syllable and coming up with sound-alike pictures.

Rules for Turning Abstract Words into Pictures

  1. Break the word down by syllable
  2. Avoid looking at how the word is spelled
  3. Repeat each syllable out loud
  4. Focus on the syllable's sound
  5. Create a sound-alike or symbolic mental picture based on the syllable's sound
  6. Relax and have fun!

An Example to Get You Started

Close your eyes and say the first syllable. Man. It instantly gives you a picture. Say the next syllable. Age. That gives you a picture too. Say the final syllable - ment - out loud several times and it, too, will give you a picture. Now, combine the pictures. You might see: an old man eating mints or a man sitting on the edge eating mints.

And One More For Good Measure

Close your eyes and say the first syllable out loud. Cat. You instantly get a picture, right? The next syllable is e. You'll probably need to combine this with the last 2 syllables to come up with a picture. Now you have egory (Ah, Gore, E.) You can practice being really vivid on that one. Now, combine the pictures. You may see: a bloody, gory cat.

Now You're On Your Own

For the following words, come up with vivid mental pictures of each of their syllables—as you did in the previous examples.

If a syllable does not conjure up a picture for you, combine it with the next syllable and work with that sound.

Be sure to always say the syllables out loud.

1. Trading   2. Conduit   3. Trust   4. Find   5. Freedom

Some Hints For Improvement

  • Relax, have fun, let your imagination go
  • Repeat each syllable several times
  • Create several pictures for each syllable
  • If you do create several, choose the simplest picture

Mental Exercise

Let's continue turning abstract words into vivid pictures.

Possible answers are printed upside down below. Please do not look at the answers until you have done the exercise for yourself.

For the following words, create vivid mental pictures of each of their syllables.

1. Astute   2. Denial   3. Conform

For the following words, besides creating mental pictures of their syllables, also create pictures that are representative or symbolic of the whole words.

1. Gentle   2. Love   3. Happiness

What to Avoid When You Need Optimal Thinking:

stress, heavy eating, turkey, sugar, white flour, excess caffeine and alcohol

How We Program Our Memories to Fail

  • "I have a terrible memory"
  • "I never remember people's names"
  • "I better write this down or I'll forget"
  • "I just know I'll forget that appointment"

Begin reprogramming yourself today by making positive statements.

Mental Exercise

Say out loud three times daily for the next 21 days:

"I have a great memory.
I remember easily.
I recall easily."

This is the beginning of reprogramming your subconscious mind.

Observation, focus and attention are keys to engaging and locking in your own memory.

Important Definition

See Peg:
The first thing you notice about a person.

Two Types of See Pegs

1. Permanent: something about the facial features of the individual, i.e. large nose, unique ears, pronounced eyes, a dimple, scar, etc. This type does not give you as many options, since there are limited number of facial features.
2. Temporary: something noticeable but transient about a person's appearance, such as an article of clothing or jewelry. This is the most useful kind of See Peg.

Look at the following pictures and for each one establish what you would use as this person's See Peg.

1         2

3         4

In Photo 1, there are several things we could use as a See Peg. However, the man's bolo tie struck me most.

So I'm going to call the gentleman Mr. Bolo Tie. In this manner, give each of the pictured people a name based on the See Pegs you selected.

It is important that you be able to close your eyes and describe in great detail the See Peg you have chosen for each person. Study each photo again, really observing the See Pegs and the individuals.

Close your eyes. You should be able to recreate not only the See Peg but the person's whole face.

Below, upside down, I've listed the See Pegs I chose for the people in the pictures.

There are many correct answers so don't worry if your See Pegs aren't the same as mine.

By picking See Pegs, we fulfilled the first of three steps toward remembering anything: we found a place to put the information.

In this next lesson, we will learn how to fulfill the second of the steps, turning the information into vivid pictures.

Because names are abstract, we must develop a mental picture vocabulary for ourselves.

Earlier we discussed how to turn abstracts into pictures. Here's a quick review.

  1. Break the name into syllables; if the name is one syllable, use the whole name.
  2. Close your eyes ans say the syllable (or whole name) several times out loud.
  3. Create a sound-alike picture of something representative or symbolic of the sound.

Using these rules, come up with mental pictures for the names listed below.

Remember, if you can't create a sound-alike picture, try to come up with something representative of the sound.

And don't look at how the name is spelled; it's the sound that's important.

Pictures I've come up with are printed upside down below a ways. As always, do not look at my answers until you've come up with your own.

1. Waldo   2. Wallace   3. Dolly   4. Debbie   5. Nicole  
6. Jan   7. Ann   8. Jim   9. Joe   10. Mark  

Helpful Hints

  • Never use celebrities, though you may use something representative of a celebrity.

    Example: for Michael, many people picture Michael Jackson, which will not work. However, a white sequined glove, representative of Jackson, will work.
    Exception: You can use cartoon characters.

  • Anytime you have a large picture, simplify it.

    Example: If for Jim you have a large picture of a gymnasium, reduce that to a smaller picture, such as a basketball.

Create a picture word for each of the following names, and type it in the accompanying input box.


Now we've learned to pick a See Peg and to turn a person's name into a picture.

We'll learn about the third rule for remembering names in an upcoming lesson.

Review this lesson often if your job requires meeting lots of people.

Remembering people's names can be a key to business success. People tend to like and want to work further with people who remember them after just one meeting, however brief.

Mental Exercise

Each day for the next 21 days, pick out five male first names and five female first names, and come up with a mental picture for each one. Make the pictures either sound-alike or representative or symbolic.

Turning last names into mental pictures is done exactly the same way we turned first names and abstracts into pictures.

If possible, divide the words into syllables; close your eyes; say the syllables out loud (combining two or more if necessary); and create sound-alike or representative images. Avoid creating a picture of a real person who has that last name.

Practice creating mental pictures with the following last names. My answers are printed upside down below.

10.Wayne (note: don't use John Wayne)

Mental Exercise

Each day for the next 21 days, pick out last names of five people who you know. Come up with a mental picture for each one. Make the pictures either sound-alike or representative or symbolic.

  1. Pick See Peg
  2. Turn name into picture
  3. Put picture on the See Peg with ACTION in a ludicrous way

These three simple steps is all there is to it. Practice these techniques over and over with the game at the top of this page and you'll improve your ability to remember names each time you play.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Maverick April 2, 2012 at 9:27 am

Pretty much brilliant stuff, thank you!


Jean-Baptiste Collinet April 3, 2012 at 5:15 am

Can this help me remembering the syntax, meaning and jargon of programming languages? I’m learning Objective-C right now, and there are tons of things to remember. I often forget the meaning of some between two lectures…


Elliot Waite April 3, 2012 at 7:37 am

Yeah, these techniques are great for remembering anything abstract, like names, numbers, driving directions, and even a new programming language. I’d suggest converting the syntax into a picture, and then attaching that picture to the meaning of the syntax with ACTION in a ludicrous way. The more you practice these memory techniques, the more places you’ll find them useful.


Eddie Dudoit April 3, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Thanks Elliot! This game has helped me keep the names straight of all the girls I mack!


lester April 8, 2012 at 6:39 am

Your game is brilliant! ‘Ive just passed a TESOL course, and my biggest problem in the classroom will be remembering names. Your game is the only way I am going to get over this problem; all the theory written underneath I’ve read before, and for me it hasn’t worked. It is sure to become the standard for this type of activity, if it isn’t already. The competing BBC Brainsmart game gives back the faces in the same order they came in, allowing someone good at sequence memory to remember the names, without remembering the faces.

A couple of suggestions which might help you to make the game even better, at least for those who are playing the game for brain training and not just for fun.

One – for me important – quibble is spelling. Catherine wants you to remember her name, but doesn’t care if you spell it Katherine or Kathryn. If she spells her name Kathrine, she would expect you to get it wrong, as noone else spells the name like that. Francisca might correct you if you called her Francesca because the names are pronounced differently, but two thirds of people probably make the same mistake. A category of would be useful in this case. A name like Joesph which doesn’t even exist is, for me, directly counter productive; my attention is distracted by the spelling, and I don’t remember a name for the next face.

It would also be useful for me, if an extension was produced for long term memory. I need to be able to go back to the face after a month, and still remember the name. It would be useful if I could do that after a year, as some people can. The landlord of one of my local bars remembers everybody, even if they only came in for a couple of hours 3 years ago. This ability is a great asset in any form of business or social relations.

In this respect, it doesn’t help if the name put to the face, is different every time the game is played.

Congatulations again on producing such an excellent game, and hope you find the suggestions relevant.


Elliot Waite April 8, 2012 at 8:51 am

Good suggestions. I agree that the spelling shouldn’t matter, I just haven’t taken the time to program that in yet since there are 2,000 different names in the game. But I might try to do that soon. Giving partial credit for similar names might be a good idea too.

The names come from a list I found online of the most popular male and female first names. Joesph is actually ranked the 622nd most popular male name according to this site: (strange, huh). But the weird names are kind of like challenge rounds, and I do meet people from time to time that have very unusual names, so I think it’s good practice.

I’ve thought about making the same faces always have the same names, but then that would give an advantage to someone who has played the game a lot and just knows peoples names from long term memory, and I wanted it to be a level playing field with scoring based on short term memory. However, maybe giving an advantage to people who played the game a lot would be good, and it’d add to the long term memory practice. I’ll have to think about that one. Good suggestion.

Thank you for taking the time to post your feedback. I’m glad you’re enjoying the game so far.


lester April 8, 2012 at 12:33 pm

And thankyou for writing back, Elliot. Your game is so effective, because it mimics the way we actually learn names, and the way we forget them. Introduced to 5 people in sequence at a party, I can remember all their names if we are interacting for the rest of the night. But then I get in a conversation, I meet 2 more people, within 10 minutes sometimes I’ve forgotten some of the first 5. One piece of knowledge replaces another. Product I suppose of my vertical-thinking English grammar school education (I’m 61).

I’ve just had Brigitte and Bridgette next door to each other. Most English people will have met a few Bridgets, and Brigittes if they’ve been to France; they may also have met a Spanish Brigita or a German Birgit. Bridgettes, however, like Joesphs, are unknown to us; one suspects a spelling error, which causes a blip in concentration. But I realize that Americans have a lot more unusual names than we do. In the England I left 25 yearsago, most men were still called John, Steve or Dave, difficult enough to remember who was which; absolutely nobody was called Napoleon, the pisstaking at school would have been unbearable.


lester April 8, 2012 at 6:51 am

After Francisca and Francesca paragraph 3 sentence should read <a category of would be useful.>


Seth May 25, 2012 at 4:15 pm

If sound is more important than spelling (and it obviously IS), then your game should be lax rather than rigorous. It gives the wrong impression to have it judged like a gal-dern spelling bee! (Otherwise it is a pretty solid game and legit memory technique, imo.)


pepper June 4, 2012 at 8:18 am

it’s great to see a detailed method laid out like this – i teach 160 students every semester, and for students i see an hour a week i can never recall their names.

However, some names i encounter are quite hard to put pictures to, because they are Malays or Chinese or Vietnamese, e.g. Syafiqah, Jian Wen, Ngoc Minh… Any suggestions?


???? July 13, 2012 at 8:24 pm

if this is a name memory test, why the hell is it testing my dyslexia?


Dmitry November 23, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Good stuff!

By the way, for those who have Android devices, a game which helps to train remembering of list of words:

Good Luck


Todd Kuslikis December 8, 2012 at 7:46 pm

So blessed to have found this page. I am working on remembering people’s names for work and will be practicing these techniques with the game above.


brain power April 21, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Fine way of telling, and pleasant paragraph to get facts concerning my presentation
focus, which i am going to deliver in university.


Mick July 16, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Superb game Elliot. What a huge amount of effort you must have put into it. I am going to echo the above criticism regarding spellings. I don’t want to go into too much detail, as it’s all above, but this is just one more vote in favour of liberalising the spelling rules. I am learning names phonetically, and the spelling problems detracts from my learning…

Thank you for creating this wonderful database though, it must be the best tool for name and face learning on the web.


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Robin Clark March 3, 2014 at 9:26 pm

Great memory game, Elliot! Kudos!

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