Thursday, November 15, 2007

Okay, This Is Just Weird

But it might have corrections sentencing implications, I guess.

Your name made you do it, albeit unconsciously, suggests new research that finds your name can negatively undermine your goals.

Psychologists in marketing at Yale and the University of California, San Diego studying the unconscious influence of names say a preference for our own names and initials — the "name-letter effect" — can have some negative consequences.

Students whose names begin with C or D get lower grades than those whose names begin with A or B; major league baseball players whose first or last names began with K (the strikeout-signifying letter) are significantly more likely to strike out, according to the report published in the December issue of Psychological Science.

"We found that our own-name liking sabotages success for people whose initials match negative performance labels," the report says.
The researchers' work supports a series of studies published since 2002 that have found the "name-letter effect" causes people to make life choices based on names that resemble their own.

Those studies by Brett Pelham, an associate professor of psychology at SUNY University at Buffalo, have found that people are disproportionately likely to live in states or cities resembling their names, have careers that resemble their names and even marry those whose surnames begin with the same letter as their own.

"If this is an unconscious preference, it suggests we don't really have free will about certain important decisions," Pelham says. "We don't really make those decisions for the reasons we thought we did."

The twist, Pelham says, is that he has believed the name-letter effect would apply only to positive outcomes. Nelson and Simmons, he says, are "showing it applies more so to negative things than positive things."

I guess now you know what grade I made in school. Anyone want a DOC data set to do some analysis?

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