To people named Charles, Cyndi, David, Diana – and all those whose names begin with “C” or “D” – you wouldn’t like this item. And of course you have the right to poke in the eye (through visualization only, please) the so-called experts who made a recent study on people’s initials.
According to this US study, students whose names start with the letters C or D — which denote mediocre marks in some grading systems — did not perform as well as other pupils with different initials.
The study said certain initials may look better than others as monograms but they can also have an impact on how well a person performs in a sport or at school.
Leif Nelson, of the University of California, San Diego, and Joseph Simmons, of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, studied the effect of first or last-name initials in situations where letters corresponded to an undesirable outcome.
They said people whose initial matched a negative label performed more poorly than others.
Their findings suggest that the unconscious mind finds one’s own initials appealing even when it compromises success, according to the study published in the journal Psychological Science.
The researchers examined the effect in schools, in baseball and in a lab setting where a reward-based test was performed.
“These are domains where people really, really focus on top performance and still this unconscious desire to match their initial seems to be undermining their performance,” Nelson said.
The effect was clear in a study of the grade point averages of 15,000 graduate students over a 15-year period.
“Cs and Ds do reliably worse than everyone else,” said Nelson.
The researchers said their findings are in line with the name-letter effect, in which a person’s favorite letter is often one of their initials. The favored initial may influence life outcomes, such as the city where a person lives in or the choice of occupation.
Nelson said the study demonstrates the power of the unconscious mind in controlling behavior in certain situations.
“Certainly, my wife made sure we didn’t name our daughter with a C or a D after reading the paper,” Nelson said.
In baseball, players aim to avoid striking out. But after looking at 93 years of Major League baseball data and poring over more than 6,000 player names, the authors found that those whose names began with a K struck out more than others. In baseball, the letter K signifies a strikeout.
“Just having the right initial doesn’t spontaneously make you a better baseball player, but it can spontaneously make you a slightly worse baseball player,” Nelson said.
What do you think the first letter of your name signifies? For me, I’d like to think that ‘J” stands for “jolly.” Or could it be “jaded”?