Paging Uri Simonsohn . . .
January 2014: Alice Robb writes, completely uncritically: “If Your Name is Dennis, You’re More Likely to Become a Dentist The strange science of how names shape careers.”
But look what you can learn from a quick google:
Hmmmm, maybe worth following up on that second link . . .
More details here, from 2011:
Devah Pager points me to this article by Uri Simonsohn, which begins:
Three articles published [by Brett Pelham et al.] have shown that a disproportionate share of people choose spouses, places to live, and occupations with names similar to their own. These findings, interpreted as evidence of implicit egotism, are included in most modern social psychology textbooks and many university courses. The current article successfully replicates the original findings but shows that they are most likely caused by a combination of cohort, geographic, and ethnic confounds as well as reverse causality.
From Simonsohn’s article, here’s a handy summary of the claims and the evidence (click on it to enlarge):
The Pelham et al. articles have come up several times on the blog, starting with this discussion and this estimate and then more recently here. I’m curious what Pelham and his collaborators think of Simonsohn’s claims.
Too bad for the readers of the New Republic that Alice Robb didn’t think to do a Google search. Maybe Pelham’s claims are all correct, but it seems a mistake to report them uncritically.
No big deal, we all make mistakes, but I hope the New Republic can run a correction of equal length to the original article, explaining that the claim about names has been shot down, and also educating readers a bit on the uncertainties of this sort of scientific finding.