People With Easy-to-Pronounce Names Seen as More Trustworthy, Study Finds

By Jaime Lutz

Mar 1, 2014 12:58pm

People with easy-to-pronounce names are viewed as more trustworthy than those with confusing names, a study from scientists at UC-Irvine found.

In a study that quotes from the Colbert Report and the Onion, the scientists made up fake names from different ethnicities around the world, with some of the names easy to pronounce, like Andrian Babeshko, and others more difficult, like Yevgeny Dherzhinsky.

They put these names in front of psychology students taking the study for extra credit and found that the students preferred people with easy-to-pronounce names as a tour guide or as a credible source of trivia.

“Such an effect might have significant real world impact,” scientists wrote in the peer-reviewed study. “For instance, would the pronounceability of eyewitnesses’ names shape jury verdicts?”

In one experiment, the scientists told the students that the people bearing each name were famous in their home country, and asked them which ones the students were most familiar with. They found that the students were more likely to say they had heard of the person with an easy-to-pronounce name.

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