It’s interesting that the process of introducing ourselves in a new group can be so nervewracking that we fail to truly remember much about the others in the group — especially if our introduction falls later in the group. This, at least, has been my experience. If you’re even remotely intimidated by the experience (and it is often intimidating), you’re more focused on thinking about what you are going to say than on whatever’s being said by whoever’s currently speaking.
That said, maybe the process has continued to be prevalent because there’s a use for it. Perhaps being transiently nervous in a group of people who’re also transiently nervous invokes some kind of levelling. Maybe.