ByElle McFarlane, writer at
'There's always someone younger and hungrier coming down the stairs after you.'
Elle McFarlane

We all remember where we were when we saw the back of Don Draper's head for the first time, or when Britney shaved her head and attacked a car with an umbrella, but undoubtedly the most iconic moment of the past 20 years was when Ross said Rachel's name at the altar, instead of his uptight, British fiancee, Emily.

As the world gasped in stunned silence, Emily transformed from blushing bride into a (justifiably) wrathful bridezilla, Rachel wondered whether she should actually go up to the altar and Ross sheepishly plowed through the rest of his vows into an unhappy & short lived matrimony. But scientists have now discovered the reason why Ross may have said Rachel's name instead of Emily's, and actually, Emily should take it as a compliment.

Ironically, Ross Said Rachel's Name Because He Truly Loved Emily

Ironically enough, scientists now believe that the reason we say a list of other people's names before getting to the correct name of the person we are addressing could be because we are highly fond of them.

Speaking to NPR, scientist Samantha Deffler discussed her findings which she published in the Memory & Cognition journal and stated that contrary to popular belief, it's not the result of a bad memory, it's just that, like a computer, we have different cognitive 'folders' for friend names, and family names.

So, Ross Said 'Rachel' Because It Was In The Same Cognitive Folder As 'Emily'

Friends [Credit: Warner Bros. Television]
Friends [Credit: Warner Bros. Television]

So, when we pick the wrong name, we've picked it from the right folder but arrived at the wrong outcome, i.e. for Ross his "love interests" folder probably contains "Emily," "Rachel," & "velociraptor."

Choosing Rachel's name therefore didn't necessarily mean he wished he was marrying Rachel instead of Emily, it's just that her name was part of this particular "love interest" folder, and therefore was associated to Emily's name by a product of cognitive organization rather than as as a result of subconscious preference.

However, Science Or No Science, Ross & Rachel Were Destined To Be Together

Friends [Credit: Warner Bros. Television]
Friends [Credit: Warner Bros. Television]

But can science actually explain the nature of true love? Whether Ross said Rachel's name at the altar simply because he associated it fondly with Emily's, the fact of the matter remains that Ross and Rachel were always supposed to be together, and no amount of science can explain the secret ways of the heart. Or of TV execs writing ingeniously drawn-out romantic storylines to cash in on some deliciously lucrative ratings. Who said romance is dead hey?


Do you think Ross said Rachel's name at the altar because of science?


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