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Easy names inspire trust in strangers: study

English.news.cn   2014-03-06 16:51:24

WELLINGTON, March 6 (Xinhua) -- If you want to be trusted by strangers and foreigners, make your name easy to pronounce.

That's the finding of a New Zealand study that looked at the effect that foreign names had on people's judgment of risk, danger and truth.

The Victoria University researchers used newspaper articles and websites to create fictitious pairs of names one easy to pronounce and the other difficult from various regions around the world, including the Middle East, Asia and Europe and tested responses to the names.

One test required participants to imagine they were a tourist looking for a reliable, safe tour guide and to rate how risky each foreign name seemed, and in another they were asked to judge how dangerous people were based on no additional information other than the names supplied.

"What was most surprising is that the pronunciation of names has effects that extended beyond the name itself. People actually thought claims attributed to easy-to-pronounce names were more likely to be true," research leader Dr Eryn Newman said in a statement Thursday.

In each experiment, the findings showed that people with easy to pronounce names were judged as being more familiar, less risky and less dangerous.

"What we now know from these results, is that the consequences of easy-to-pronounce names reach much further than previously thought. There are a number of situations where pronounceability could have a significant impact on people's lives. For example, we might ask whether the pronounceability of eyewitnesses' names influences jury verdicts."

Editor: Mengjie
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