"What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet." -Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
How much does an individual's name actually shape who they are as a person? There is evidence that names are linked to behavior and personality, but that might not be as far as it goes.
There is a growing body of research that suggests that we become bias towards the letters in our name, which comes about in a number of different ways. This bias likely influences who we choose for friendships and romantic partners, as well as what we purchase and even how much money we spend on certain items.
Do letters really have that much power?
Evidently, yes. There's nothing more personal than a name, and it makes sense that we're a bit egotistical when it comes to the letters and sounds that make them up.
There is research to show that people choose where to live based on the similarities to their own name. For instance, St. Louis contains a lot more people actually named Louis than you might expect. The same study also found that it could sway individuals toward certain careers, as they found a higher-than-anticipated number of people named Dennis opting to become dentists.
There are also striking, everyday choices made because of this bias as well.
We might be attracted to those whose names contain similar sounds to our own.
There is even some research to suggest that our friends and even the people we date are more attractive to us because they share our initials or have similar sounds in their names. This doesn't just go for first names; last initials can cause the same effect.
If you've ever heard a woman joke that her initials won't change after she gets married, then you've seen this phenomenon in effect. Of course it's not the only reason they're getting married, but it may have helped!
This is also why you somehow care when people share your birthday. It's all about that solidarity.
Additionally, this bias also applies to the amount we feet comfortable spending.
In much the same way that bias toward our name sounds influence what we purchase, it also extends to the amount we are willing to spend. Numbers that echo the same sound are more pleasing, and we therefore feel more comfortable with spending that amount, even if it is not the cheapest option.
It might sound crazy, but a 2014 published in the Journal of Marketing found that by and large, it's true. Someone whose name begins with an F, for instance, generally feels more comfortable spending $44 on an item than $33, because it's more comfortable. This has obvious implications for retailers, who can price things based on popular names in certain demographics. Again, birthdays into play with this phenomenon as well.
[H/T: Social Psych Online]