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Thursday, April 3, 2014

'if name is easy to pronounce' - people are more likely to trust.... ?!?!

What is in a name … a rose by any other name would smell as sweet -  the names of things do not matter, only what things are  !! ~ but perceptions do matter …. in a Vadivelu comedy in film ‘Arya’ , Madhavan would tell a lie and a group of people would start hitting Vadivelu … when asked one would say with conviction ‘veluppa irukkaravanga poi sollamattanga’ [men who look white would not lie] …For us, Office goers, the Office and the designation over there means a lot – mostly people are identified by what they are tagged – the official designation – a visiting card gains more weight with each promotion.  Even if one does not consciously ponder on these things, the credibility gets highlighted by the designation.  It serves as a measure of growth and development and  ……….. more responsibility !!  In office environ, many get perturbed not only by things not happening to them – but by happening to thy neighbours.  

In Srivaishanvaite philosophy, naming the new born is very important.  Periyazhwaar in his ‘Periyazhwaar Thirumozhi’  (Nankam Pathu – Aaram Thirumozhi) devotes 10 songs on the need to name the children after Sriman Narayanan – those who are named after Maha Vishnu will be bestowed with all goodness and their parents will not go to hell is a firm belief.  That is for the believer.

Earlier I had posted on a theory of ‘ Why having a name that's easy to pronounce could propel one  up the career ladder !’  It is no little perception but a theory based on the research, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, which has  found that it's not just in the office that people with easy-to-say names do well, it also discovered that it helped in the political world. According to researcher from University of Melbourne, people with a name that is more easily pronounced have better prospects of climbing the career ladder, a study as found. Research findings revealed that the effect is not due merely to the length of a name or how foreign-sounding or unusual it is, but rather how easy it is to pronounce.  Whether we accept the subtle bias or not, here is something more interesting based on an article that appeared in Daily Mail on 28th Feb 2014 stating that ‘if the name is hard to pronounce’ – likely people would not trust them… simple names make people seem 'familiar and less risky'

According to the news feature, researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that people who speak English trust strangers with easier-to-pronounce names; People less likely to believe claims made by strangers with tricky names.  A previous study found people with easy-to-pronounce names are perceived as more likable, more electable and more accomplished. Plenty of people are guilty of quickly judging people based on their appearance or accent ~ and now scientists have found that we trust strangers with easier-to pronounce names. Simpler and more easily recognisable names make people come across as more familiar and less risky to know, according to a new study. Simpler and more easily recognisable names make people come across as less risky to know, according to a new study ~ and children are more likely to trust a pretty face !!

Scientists tested 32 four and five-year-olds who were shown 12 photos of women aged between 18 and 29. Both boys and girls tended to believe answers assigned to pictures of pretty women, according to the study that was published in October last year. Lead researcher Dr Igor Bascandziev, from Harvard University in the US, said: 'When learning about the world, children rely heavily on information provided to them by other people. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that people who speak English trust strangers with easier-to-pronounce names more than those with names that are more difficult to say– even when those strangers are from the same country. The scientists created fictitious pairs of names from different parts of the world, including the Middle East, Asia and Europe, making sure that one name was easy to pronounce and the other more difficult. They then examined people’s responses to the name pairs. In one experiment, participants imagined they were tourists looking for a reliable tour guide, while in another test, they were asked to decide how dangerous each person on a list of strangers was, based on nothing but their name.

In each experiment, strangers with easy-to-pronounce names were judged as being more familiar, more trustworthy and safer,’ said Eryn Newman, a postdoctoral fellow in the university’s Department of Criminology, Law and Society. So, according to the study people with easily-pronounceable names enjoy a variety of benefits, according to a number of scientific studies. They are perceived as more likeable, more electable and more accomplished ~ more surprising is that the pronunciation of names had effects that extended beyond the name.

Dr Newman explained that the phenomenon isn’t confined to people’s names. ‘When we encounter new information, how easy or difficult it is to process plays an important role in all sorts of situations. For example, research shows people think that food additives with easier names are safer than those with difficult names.’ She thinks that the feeling of familiarity in the brain signals something we can trust, but information that is hard to process, signals danger.

So, are you looking for a good Nameologist ? …. ~ me ? - a strong non-believer of many things and this ‘name theory’ sure would top my list…… makes a very interesting reading though.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th Mar 2014.

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