Culture TEDTalks

Sorry, I forgot your name: David Hornik at TED2012

Posted by: Emily McManus

Photo: James Duncan Davidson

“I forget names,” says David Hornik. “I forget them all the time, every day. And I thought everyone did.” But he realized (after forgetting a very important name) that his name-blindness was actually a symptom of another condition: his dyslexia.

And it made him think: What other disabilities do we have, that other people don’t see, that causes others to assume the worst in social situations?

“When I forget your name, you just think I’m an idiot, or a jerk. I have an invisible disability and you assume the worst.” And he says: there are millions of people like this, people with OCD, or they’re bipolar or on the spectrum,  and they experience this same thing every day, “where people make certain assumptions without understanding the underlying cause.”

“So I’ve tried really hard to give people the benefit of the doubt when there’s more than one explanation to how they’re behaving. This week, you’ll catch me glancing at your nametag. Please know: I still love you, I just can’t remember your name.”

Comments (2)

  • Robert Stribley commented on Jul 22 2012

    Is there a video of this talk available? I can’t find it on I suffer from the same thing and also always feel terrible, though I’ve learned to explain that I have a problem with names.

  • Ben Cowell commented on Apr 25 2012

    Deafness, because it’s not apparent or obvious! Its diagnosis is not registered by many health and educational professionals as there are no regular tests for it unlike other disabilities for instance eyesight and even with that children are not always diagnosed as early as should be for colour blindness. Up to 8% of men and 4% of women suffer from this condition.