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Why our brains are hardwired to remember words

November 20, 2020

We've been enjoying Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, a great book we recommend to everyone.

In it, the author states that language was the spark that triggered the "Cognitive Revolution", and with that, humans could go beyond our genetic instincts, we could communicate information to each other and make sure knowledge was not lost.

Gathered around fires, we shared stories about our day, what was good to eat, what areas to avoid. Only much later, we were able to expand our imagination to abstract concepts like numbers.

So that's why it's easier to remember words. Our survival used to literally depend on our ability to communicate through words.

How is this related to Vanity Phone Numbers?

Our memory works better with fewer bits of information, this is a process called “chunking”. Words are “stored” as individual bits in our brains.

So, while the typical number has 10 “chunks” of information, a vanity phone number has only 4 or 5. Literally half the amount! No wonder vanity phone numbers have up to 50% higher recall than traditional numbers!

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