What's in a name? Our false uniqueness!



The current study investigated our perception of first names. In Study 1, participants estimated their own first name to be less frequent compared with estimates from yoked controls. The first name uniqueness effect was seen for both rare and common names, and male and female names. The uniqueness bias was not due to differential encoding of variegated and shortened names, such as different versions of the name Caitlyn. Study 2 established that rarer names are preferred, and, that when we contemplate a name change, we often consider rare names. Several theoretical explanations for a general name uniqueness effect are proposed.