Why Susie Sells Seashells by the Seashore

More attacks on the notion of deliberate agency. Again, emphasis in the abstract is mine. Looking at the data the effects are far larger than i expected them to be (but i expected them to be pretty small)

Makes me wonder if my motives for liking Sheffield are anything to do with my surname (but not for long).

Why Susie Sells Seashells by the Seashore: Implicit Egotism and Major Life Decisions

Brett W. Pelham, Matthew C. Mirenberg, and John T. Jones

Because most people possess positive associations about themselves, most people prefer things that are connected to the self (e.g., the letters in one?s name). The authors refer to such preferences as implicit egotism. Ten studies assessed the role of implicit egotism in 2 major life decisions: where people choose to live and what people choose to do for a living. Studies 1?5 showed that people are disproportionately likely to live in places whose names resemble their own first or last names (e.g., people named Louis are disproportionately likely to live in St. Louis). Study 6 extended this finding to birthday number preferences. People were disproportionately likely to live in cities whose names began with their birthday numbers (e.g., Two Harbors, MN). Studies 7?10 suggested that people disproportionately choose careers whose labels resemble their names (e.g., people named Dennis or Denise are overrepresented among dentists). Implicit egotism appears to influence major life decisions. This idea stands in sharp contrast to many models of rational choice and attests to the importance of understanding implicit beliefs.

2 replies on “Why Susie Sells Seashells by the Seashore”

Almost entirely irrelevant, but… I’ve been reading that Bill Bryson book “A Short History of Nearly Everything” and apparently the tounge twister “She sells sea shells” is thought to be based on an ameteur palientologist who collected and sold fossils from the coast of Dorset. Her name was Mary though… so it can’t be true.

Comments are closed.