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I wouldn't trust a "Bambi" to do my taxes

We all make associations with people based off their names. For example, I don't think "handyman" when I am introduced to guys with names like Trevor or Preston. And I don't think "financial genius" when I meet a woman named Bambi or Sequoia. Am I instantaneously judging people based off their name without actually getting to know them first?

Yes. And I'm sorry, but it happens. (And, I suspect I am not alone in this.)

It turns out that I may also be more or less trusting of a person based on the way a name is pronounced. A U.K. study found that people with easier-to-pronounce names were judged as being more familiar and trustworthy than their counterparts who had harder to pronounce names.


The study doesn't indicate whether this is equally true of first names as it is for last. I had a relatively hard-to-pronounce maiden name (at least, upon first glance). So, when I married and took my husband's last name did my perceived trustworthy factor rise a few degrees as well?

Last week I posted Time's fun baby name predictor which helps parents determine when their potential perfect baby name may hit peak popularity. I understand a parent wanting a unique name for their child, but maybe this research adds another layer. Can you have a one-of-a-kind name that is still easy enough to pronounce that it won't trip up every substitute teacher during roll call?

Everyone has a name story from when they were growing up: I recall that it was always easy for me to determine when a telemarketer was on the phone as their would be a pause before they attempted my last name. What's your name story? Share it with me in the comments.

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Comment by Lauren Markman on May 31, 2014 at 9:33am

I went to Spain once and they pronounced my name La-ooorr-en. But I kinda liked it, so I didn't correct anyone.

Comment by Marcia Fowler on May 28, 2014 at 2:29pm

I have an easy name to pronounce, although it depends on who's pronouncing it. Think Brady Bunch and you'll know how to pronounce it. However, it also means I have a life time of, Marcia, Marcia Marcia. Well, a lifetime until all the Brady Bunch fans die off.

Since moving to Italian filled RI I've now learned how to pronounce many long Italian names. I find it funny that others can pronounce these names yet stumble over the simple name, Fowler (or Flower, as the man at the furniture store says).

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