June 30, 2024 at 11:41 pm

New Study Tackles The Question Of Whether Or Not Your Name Can Really Influence Your Life Choices

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

What’s in a name?

I doubt most people give much thought to it, despite how their parents probably agonized over the decision in the weeks before they were born.

Some, though, believe in nominative determinism, which suggests that your name can be a huge factor in the choices you make throughout your life.

This new study suggests that there might actually be something to it.

Source: Shutterstock

Nominative determinism is the idea that people tend to gravitate toward certain types of work that “fit” with their names.

Previous research has shown that we have a preference for letters in our own names, and that this preference can affect decisions like our profession or where we live.

This new study out of the University of Utah wanted to find out whether or not this bias really bears out.

“Nominative determinism would suggest that a person named Dennis is more likely to choose to live in Denver than Cleveland.”

To find out, they employed large language AI models trained on Common Crawl, Twitter, Google News, and Google Books to capture millions of names, professions, and cities of residence.

In the end, their dataset included 3,410 names, 508 professions, and 14,856 cities.  They favored first names because they’re less likely to change during a person’s life.

The study controlled for factors like gender, ethnicity, and a few other things.

They found “consistent evidence of the relationship between people’s names and a preference for major life choices starting with the same letter as their first name.”

Source: Shutterstock

The patter was found to be slightly different for men and women.

“While men show a consistent pattern of the nominative determinism effect across the decades for profession choices, women show a much lower effect in the early part of the 20th century, though as time progresses, the effect, increases.”

This only provides a snapshot of nominative determinism, but it does seem to give some credence to the fact that it exists.

Apparently, I am an outlier. Oh, well.

If you enjoyed that story, check out what happened when a guy gave ChatGPT $100 to make as money as possible, and it turned out exactly how you would expect.