Home > diversity, unconscious bias > The Unconscious and Success Linked to Initials of One’s Name…

The Unconscious and Success Linked to Initials of One’s Name…

A fascinating article is posted in science daily about the power of the unconscious and it’s link to success and the initials of one’s name.  In the article researchers were able to connect the success of students with the initials of their name.  For instance,  if students had initials that contained the letters A or B they were more likely to get an A or B in the class.  Likewise, if their initials contained the letters C or D they were more likely to get a C or D in the class.  Furthermore, the researchers found a correlation between names and initials and where people decided to live and even who they decided to marry.  As an example, Phillip was more prone to move to Philadelphia and marry Pamela.

From a diversity standpoint this further illustrates the power of the unconscious to shape what most of us consider to be rational and consciously considered decisions.  What we now know instead is that even the most arcane decisions we make are not only orginated in our unconscious but in essence controlled by our unconscious.  How many organizational systems in the workplace that we consciously and logically consider to be fair, but are instead in herently unfair due to the power of our unconscious.  A good example is the hiring practices in many workplaces.  Most of these practices include a face to face interview, some sort of test, and in some intances a performance demonstration.  I wonder how many of these “fair” hiring systems are really subconsciously unfair and lead us to hire people like us.

Read the article here

  1. Leroy
    September 2, 2009 at 4:10 am

    This article has scientific facts to back up what some may have noticed, unconsciously. When we hear a name along with the name of where they work, if the first letters match, we are more likely to bring that into conscious thought, it becomes apparent. The estimation of how many would match was 12% lower than what it actually was, which shows that, unconsciously we are acting on information, that until brought to our attention we might not even know. It does seem odd that there would be a correlation between our name and where we work, but unconsciously our decision may be influenced by a lot of factors we are unaware of. I suspect that if more studies were done in the same line of thinking as the Ghent University one, then we would see a lot of data to show that we are influenced and make decsions acting on information that is, and remains in the unconscious. I would like to see more information relating to our unconscious and how it shapes vital parts of our lives.

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