Names Can Have Substantial Influence in Decisions

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On a sunny morning, Mary walks down a street in St. Louis and meets Paul and Helen as they make their usual rounds with their dog. Later that day, she sits in a café to study a bit and sees her classmate Peter. She finishes her breakfast and gets tired of studying, so she goes to the movies and makes a new friend named Leonard. After a while, Mary gets hungry, and goes to a nearby diner, where she sees her good friend Louis. Within half a day, Mary, who is named after St. Mary, has met with five others that carry the name of a saint. All six happen to live in a “Saint” city. Is this a coincidence? Some studies show that this is not. In another city, Dennis is one of the most popular dentists around. His daughter Laura has recently received her degrees to be a lawyer, and already has prospective customers. His brother Rory owns a roofing company, though he initially studied biology. Is it a coincidence that these professionals’ names seem to correspond with their jobs? Again, studies seem to show this is a trend, not a coincidence. In fact, experts are saying that names can be a substantial influence in decision-making. Albeit the depth and manner of effects of names are different, psychological research from recent decades show that names have subconscious effects, and even instinctively, influencing their personality, career choice, residence, even success. Oftentimes upon hearing a word, an immediate bias is formed towards the word. The moment someone hears an unknown word, he or she assumes the meaning of the word from the way it sounds (Hawes). This occurs when learning foreign languages; someone may come across a cognate, or a word that sounds like its corresponding word in the person’s native language. A similar concept is ... ... middle of paper ... ... < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TljzCt8t_I> Jones, John T., et al. “Why Susie Sells Seashells by the Seashore: Implicit Egotism and Major Life Decisions.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 82.4 (2002): 469-487. Web. 20 April 2014. Levitt, Steven D., and Stephen J. Dubner. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. Print. 20 April 2014. Shakespeare, William. "Romeo and Juliet. Act II. Scene II. William Shakespeare. 1914. The Oxford Shakespeare." Romeo and Juliet. Act II. Scene II. William Shakespeare. 1914. The Oxford Shakespeare. Barleby Bookstore, n.d. Web. 07 May 2014. . Winterman, Denise. “Would he be even more handsome called Ryan?” BBC News. BBC, 26 March 2008. Web. 20 April 2014. .

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