Name-letter effect

The name-letter effect is the tendency of people to prefer the letters in their name over other letters in the alphabet. Discovered in 1985 by the Belgian psychologist Jozef Nuttin, the effect has been replicated in dozens of studies using four different alphabets. Crucially, subjects are not aware that they are choosing letters from their name. Most people like themselves; the name is associated with the self.

About Name-letter effect in brief

Summary Name-letter effectThe name-letter effect is the tendency of people to prefer the letters in their name over other letters in the alphabet. Discovered in 1985 by the Belgian psychologist Jozef Nuttin, the effect has been replicated in dozens of studies using four different alphabets. Crucially, subjects are not aware that they are choosing letters from their name. Most people like themselves; the name is associated with the self, and hence the letters of the name are preferred, despite the fact that they appear in many other words. People who do not like themselves tend not to exhibit the name- letter effect. In the lab, people disproportionately favor brands matching their initials. An analysis of a large database of charity donations revealed that a disproportionately large number of people donate to disaster relief following hurricanes with names sharing their initial letter. The effect has implications for real-life decisions. For example, take fictitious pair Irma and Jef Jacobs as shown in the table. The first stimulus is the first and last letter of Irma’s first name and a letter not in her name. The next stimulus is a letter from the penultimate letter of Jef’s last name. As can be seen in this is repeated for the remaining letters in this table. In Dutch elementary school girls preferred the first letter of each pair as fast as possible without thinking about it. In yoked yoked trials, 38 Dutch-speaking girls preferred two letters in each pair without the hidden pattern to reveal the pattern.

In this design, any difference in preference between subjects would have to be based on whether the letter occurred in their names. The letters of both Jef and Irma then appear in reverse order, and the reverse order is also seen in the reverse of the order of both of their names, and so on. The pattern reveals the pattern to be hidden to the subjects who would have been told to circle their names without the possible thinking as possible. The results were published in the journal Psychological and Personality Science in 2008. For more information, visit: http://www.psychology-psychology.org/name-letter-effect.html. For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or see www.samaritans.org for details. In America, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 or visit http:// www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. For confidential. support in the U.S. call theNational Suicide Prevention Line on 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255) or visit http://www suicide Prevention Lifelines.org or the National Suicide prevention Lifeline in the US on the United States on the US and Canada on  the US and Canada for information on how to prevent prevention of suicide. For confidential support on suicide, call the Samaritans on 1 800 273 8255.