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Implicit egotism is the notion that major life decisions are influenced by name-similarity. This paper revisits the evidence for the most systematic test of this hypothesis. Anseel & Duyck (2008) analyzed data from 1/3 of all Belgian employees and found that a disproportionate fraction of them shared their initial with their employer. Using a data set with American employees I replicate the finding, but new analyses strongly suggest they are due to reverse causality, whereby the documented effect seems to be driven by people naming companies they start after themselves rather than by employees seeking out companies they have a shared initial with. Walt Disney, for example, worked for a company starting with D (Disney World) not because of an unconscious attraction to such letter, but because the company was named after him.
Simonsohn, U. (2011). Spurious Also? Name-Similarity Effects (Implicit Egotism) in Employment Decisions. Psychological Science, 22 (8), 1087-1089. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797611413937
Date Posted: 27 November 2017
This document has been peer reviewed.