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Your Name Tells the Truth, SoCal Study Says

Your Name Tells the Truth, SoCal Study Says
Do you believe this guy? whitehouse.gov

If your name is Joe, you're a lucky guy. Because people will tend to believe you much more often than if your name was Remington.

That, at least, is according to a new study out of UC Irvine.

Researchers gave possibly factual statements to subjects and attributed them to different names that had a variety of ethnic roots. Whatever the background of those names, the results were consistent:

People tend to believe folks with shorter, easier-to-pronounce monikers. The school gave this example:

What's more, people are more likely to trust claims when attributed to strangers with easier names. For example, the assertion that "macadamia nuts are in the same evolutionary family as peaches" was more believable when attributed to "Andrian Babeshko" than when it was credited to his countryman "Czeslaw Ratynska."

Researchers found that this works even with object names.

For example, they say, people tend to believe that food ingredients with shorter names are safer than ones with longer names. The research builds on previous findings that short-named folk are more likable.

The findings were published recently in the journal PLOS One. Lead author Eryn Newman, a postdoctoral fellow at UC Irvine's Department of Criminology, Law & Society, says:

In each experiment, strangers with easy-to-pronounce names were judged as being more familiar, more trustworthy and safer. But what was most surprising is that the pronunciation of names had effects that extended beyond the name. People actually thought claims attributed to easy-to-pronounce names were more likely to be true.

Newman says the implications are far-reaching:

 ... We might ask whether the pronounceability of eyewitnesses' names influences jury verdict.

This explains why you'd have an uphill battle if your name was Antonio Villaraigosa, who is L.A.'s former mayor (and who could have easily gone with the much more trustworthy Tony Villar).

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.