Thursday, April 10, 2008

Implicit Egotism

This is really neat.

Names That Match Forge Bond on Internet:

Why do so many feel a connection — be it kinship or competition — with utter strangers just because they share a name?

Social science, it turns out, has an answer. It is because human beings are unconsciously drawn to people and things that remind us of ourselves.

A psychological theory called the name-letter effect maintains that people like the letters in their own names (particularly their initials) better than other letters of the alphabet.

In studies involving Internet telephone directories, Social Security death index records and clinical experiments, Brett Pelham, a social psychologist, and colleagues have found in the past six years that Johnsons are more likely to wed Johnsons, women named Virginia are more likely to live in (and move to) Virginia, and people whose surname is Lane tend to have addresses that include the word “lane,” not “street.”

During the 2000 presidential campaign, people whose surnames began with B were more likely to contribute to George Bush, while those whose surnames began with G were more likely to contribute to Al Gore.

“It’s what we call implicit egotism,” Dr. Pelham, who is now a writer and researcher for the Gallup Organization, said. “We’ve shown time and time again that people are attracted to people, places and things that resemble their names, without a doubt.”

Interesting. I wonder if this has something to do with most of my favorite writers being Keats, Kerouac, Kesey, King, and Kafka? Or films by Kubrick? Or academics such as Kubler-Ross and Kozol? Or the president Kennedy?


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