Monday, March 21

Bias for own initials - even when it harms you

It has been known for a while that people tend to prefer their own initials.  If you have to pick - well, just about anything - a cubicle, a seat number etc, you are more likely to go for one featuring one or both fo your initials.

This sounds harmless enough - but researchers Nelson and Simmons (2007) found that amazingly, this can actually link to worse educational grades, with a greater likelihood of grades 'C' and 'D' if those are your initials.

To test this, they ran a task involving a task followed by a choice of a buttons.  Participants were more likely to click the 'I have failed' button if it matched one of their initials.

I wonder what this says about people's choice of names - could it even be linked in, subconsciously, with the choice of names authors use for their fictional characters?  Are names with 'A's generally bright and successful?

Nelson, L.D. and Simmons, J.P. (2007). Moniker maladies. When names sabotage success. Psychological Science, 18, 1106-1111.

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