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Baby name choices influenced by boom-and-bust business cycles

Washington, Wed, 14 Oct 2009 ANI

Washington, Oct 14 (ANI): A new US research has found that parents often give their children names that have risen in popularity as compared to names that have come down on the popularity charts, just like "momentum" stock traders.


The study conducted by Todd Gureckis, an assistant professor of psychology at NYU, and Robert Goldstone, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University, has been published the journal Topics in Cognitive Science (Wiley-Blackwell).


The authors write: "Our results give support to the idea that individual naming choices are in a large part determined by the social environment that expecting parents experience.


"Like the stock market, cycles of boom and bust appear arise out of the interactions of a large set of agents who are continually influencing one another."


The researchers also point out that this trend is moderately new and has taken shape from biases in how the public rates the overall appeal for cultural signs like names.


The psychologists came out with their conclusions after reviewing historical records on the frequency of names given to children in the US over the last 127 years.


The U.S. Social Security Administration provided the data.


The authors say: "Parents in the United States are increasingly sensitive to the change in frequency of a name in recent time, such that names that are gaining in popularity are seen as more desirable than those that have fallen in popularity in the recent past.


"This bias then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: names that are falling continue to fall while names on the rise reach new heights of popularity, in turn influencing a new generation of parents." (ANI)


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