'Simple names win more favour at workplace'

The simpler and more pronounceable your name, the more it is likely to win you friends and favour at the workplace, say scientists.

In the first study of its kind, researchers from Melbourne and New York Universities analysed how the pronunciation of names can influence image formation and decision-making.

They demonstrated “the name pronunciation effect,” which occurs when people with easy-to-pronounce names are evaluated more positively than those with difficult-to-pronounce names, reported the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, citing a Melbourne varsity statement.

“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,” said Simon Laham from Melbourne, who led the study.

The study revealed that people with more pronounceable names were more likely to be favoured for political office and job promotions.

Political candidates with easy-to-pronounce names were more likely to win a race than those without, based on a mock ballot study.

Attorneys with more pronounceable names rose more quickly to superior positions in their firm hierarchies, based on a field study of 500 first and last names of US lawyers.

Adam Alter, from New York University, who conducted the law firm analysis, said this effect probably also exists in other industries and in many everyday contexts.

“People simply aren’t aware of the subtle impact that names can have on their judgments,” Alter said.

Laham said the results had important implications for the management of bias and discrimination in society.

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