What’s in a Name? Maybe A Lot!

I recently read an article about something called “name-letter preference.” According to several research studies, people are more likely to favor (like better) and choose those things that begin with their initials (the first letter of their first or last name). This can mean that they buy brands (a company’s name for a product) that starts with the same letter: Manuel may be more likely to go to McDonald’s than to Kentucky Fried Chicken. Surprisingly, these studies show name-letter preference for other important things: There are more women named Mildred in the state of Milwaukee and there are more men named Dennis who are dentists (doctors who treat teeth).images-11.jpeg

Researchers have also found that grades are affected by this phenomenon (fact; situation), too. According to the article: “Using 15 years of grade point averages for business-school graduates, the researchers found that students whose name begin with C or D earned slightly lower GPAs than those whose names begin with A or B…”

In U.S. schools, grade point averages (GPAs) are computed from letter grades: A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0. The article points out, however, that the differences are not very big. For GPAs, the gap (difference) is very small–3.34 versus 3.36–but it still exists. Critics say that these differences are too small to matter and that if researchers look hard enough, they can always find evidence for phenomenon such as this.

If a name-letter preference really exists, I’m very glad my name is Lucy and not Fiona!

~ Lucy

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9 Responses to What’s in a Name? Maybe A Lot!

  1. Another interesting fact is when you need to type some word quickly (no think too much about) the two word come fast in my mind is “Test” and your own name…

  2. Kenta Sugimura says:

    I can not send you e-mail because every e-mail that I sent you was returned and they said ” 550 5.1.2 … Host unknown (Name server: eslpod.com.: host not found)”.
    So I send a massage as follows:

    Hello Jeff and Happy New year.
    I have been listening your pod cast from the beginning.
    Honestly speaking, I can not catch up you recently and I am listening no.284 now.
    I like English cafe because you tell me something new and interesting.
    For example, Dr.Seuss and school house rock.
    I bought DVD and book of ” Grinch” and I really enjoyed them.

    By the way, your pod cast is selected as one of “Best of 2007- Pod cast ” by iTunes music store Japanese version!
    I am happy and congratulation!

    Say hello to Lucy. Bye.

  3. Imtiaz, Pakistan says:

    Every body carries his or her own point of view.To me its a kind of being superstitious.I think success comes to those who struggle, not through the first letter of someone’s name.Recently I took a test and scored 75%. My first letter is I.
    I agree with Kenta Suggimura that ESL podcasts series is one of the best in this world.

    Long Live, lovely JEFF and LUCY

  4. emiliano says:

    When I was a student I was always in desagree with my second name as it begins with A (arribas), and by this reason many times I was one of the first to be asked about the
    lessons, so I was afraid if I didn’t the exercises or didn’t Know the lesson of that day.
    The professor looked at the list and I was one of the first on that list……….many times I was petrifieded waiting to hear my name.
    But what that article says is very curious, I have to think about it.

  5. Jorge says:

    Hello Jeff and Lucy

    I hope you have a very nice year full of love, health and work.

    I agree with emiliano, the first ones in the list, but also the last ones, always are asked about homework or lessons by teachers.

    Btw.. what emoticon do you use more in chat? I use :S often, I dont know why, but probably I usually feel like that.

  6. Andre says:

    Hi Lucy,

    I agree with the idea, that the mentioned name-letter preference phenomenon really exists. For example, if someone searches an alias i.e. for a web forum or the personal part of an email address, he (she) prefers his / her initials unknowingly. Also often parents choose the names for their children acording tot the initials of themselves or their own parents. In this case I think the given example (Mildred and Milwaukee) might be true. I think Emiliano is right too whith his opinion about teachers asking pupils first with firstnames beginning with a letter standing at one of the ends of the alphabet (A, B, C and Z, W, V also) and so are in a better position to earn good grades in examina more easily then the other ones. Thus the light difference in the relationship earned garde to first letter of students name might be explained.
    On the other hand I don’t belive that the first letter of ones name would affect ones occupational choice.


    Btw: thank you for your great work and to give us an inside view and explanations on some strange (from our point of view) behavieor in some american movies

  7. robert says:

    Yes the name-letter-preference is really true.
    I only decided to subscribe to eslpod.com because my name is esl-robert.

    Now, I´ve realized that I´m just a victim of the psychological circumstances

    Where can I complain ?

    BR, Robert(o)


  8. Juan Carlos says:

    From my point of view this is only superstittion. Likewise with the names that some people name their children after kings, emperors, etc, so they are predestined to have a successful life.

    I believe in me and in my effort to do things and look for things that i like not the ones with my initials.

  9. Ertugrul says:


    Thanks for everything

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