Name-onomics

Apr 29th 2005

When I was in graduate school, one of my professors, the legendary memory expert Gordon Bower, told a story of a paper he once wrote. He had conducted a study of word memory, but found that the results were muddled by an incidental social aspect of the experiment. The social effect intrigued him so that he wrote up the results and submitted them to a journal of social psychology, outside of his field. The editor of the journal responded, "Well Gordon, nice work. You've successfully replicated one of the best-known results in all of social psychology."

Why am I telling you this? Well, it came to mind as I was reading the baby-naming chapter of renowned economist Steven Levitt's new book Freakonomics, recently excerpted in Slate. Levitt (with journalist Stephen Dubner) set out to use "the best analytical tools that economics can offer" to uncover the "hidden side of everything," promising to reveal surprising and counterintuitive aspects of the world around us. His manifesto, from the introduction:

It is well and good to opine or theorize about a subject, as humankind is wont to do, but when moral posturing is replaced by an honest assessment of the data, the result is often a new, surprising insight.
Analytical rigor, astonishing revelations. Does he deliver?

I first started to worry when Levitt stated as fact the well-worn urban legends about babies named OrangeJello, LemonJello, and Shithead. A 10-second Google search would have been sufficient to throw those into question, didn't he bother? As a matter of fact, he did. In the endnotes, he cheerfully admits that his source for Shithead "might have been misinformed, of course, or even outright lying." And as for the 'Jellos:

Although these names have the whiff of urgan legend about them -- they are, in fact, discussed on a variety of websites that dispel (or pass along) urban legends -- the authors learned of the existence of OrangeJello and LemonJello from Doug McAdam, a sociologist at Stanford University, who swears he met the twin boys in a grocery store.
Oh, you heard it from a guy who swears he saw them once in a grocery store! Phew, thank goodness for "the best analytical tools that economics can offer."

Hereon, we proceed with caution.

In discussing the origins of name trends, Levitt's primary thesis is that fashions which originate with the upper classes gradually trickle down the economic ladder. This, naturally, is no revelation -- in fashion-based industries like apparel, it's an explicit, institutionalized process. (After all, we call the elite "trendsetters" because they set the trends.) The revelation is meant to come in the form of predictive power. Levitt uses data about California parents' economic status and name choices to propose a list of names that, "unlikely as it seems," are candidates to become "mainstream names" ten years from now. Names like Emma, Isabel, and Grace. But wait a second, aren't those already mainstream names?

Here's a graph of the popularity of Levitt's suggested future girl's names, using the data available at the time he wrote the book:

In fact, of his 24 predictions for "unlikely" names that could possibly hit the mainstream in a decade, 7 were already top-100 names, including 2 of the top 15 (Emma and Grace). Looking boldly out into the future, he predicted the present. Oops. So much for revelations.

What was the economics-based methodology for those questionable choices? Apparently, the author looked at a list of of names favored by rich Californians and chose the ones he personally found attractive. So much for rigor.

All of which brings us back to the Gordon Bower story. When anyone, even a brilliant scholar, walks into a whole new domain of knowledge, he's at a disadvantage: he doesn't know what is and isn't known. Thus it can be hard to tell the revelatory from the obvious. Any mom of a preschooler could have told Levitt that Emma wasn't a very clever prediction. It was news to him, though, so he didn't bother to dig deeper -- even to learn that Emma was already the #2 name in America. Which is a shame, because he was sitting on an absolute treasure trove of data which doubtless does have secrets to reveal.

The fashion analysis was only half of the baby-name presentation in Freakonomics. The other, much less silly half, concerns the real-world impact of race-specific names, which I'll talk about next time.

Comments

56
November 20, 2015 1:52 AM

All of which brings us back to the Gordon Bower story. When anyone, even a brilliant scholar, walks into a whole new domain of knowledge, he's at a disadvantage: he doesn't know what is and isn't known. Thus it can be hard to tell the revelatory from the obvious. Any mom of a preschooler could have told Levitt that Emma wasn't a very clever prediction. It was news to him, though, so he didn't bother to dig deeper -- even to learn that Emma was already the #2 name in America. Which 

geburtstagswünsche

geburtstagssprüche

Schön und tolle Artikel nur für Sie,

58
November 25, 2015 2:21 PM

Having a alluringly and candidly accounting resume is absolutely capital in authoritative a big aboriginal consequence by the appellant custom writer url here  because the resume or additionally accepted as the class vitae in best cases is one of the things that administration attending into aboriginal afore affair the applicant. 

61
December 9, 2015 2:02 PM

Thank you for this post. I really Liked it. http://www.happynewyear2016imagesfhd.com http://www.happynewyear2016imagesfhd.com/new-year-2016-gifts-for-kids/ http://www.happynewyear2016imagesfhd.com/topics/new-year-2016-calendar/

65
December 19, 2015 7:18 AM

nice name as yogi

http://www.sarvyoga.com/kapalbhati-pranayama-steps-and-benefits/

66
December 19, 2015 7:19 AM

in this new year make a baby

<a href="http://valentinesdayideas2016.com/">valentines day 2016</a>

<a href="http://new-year-sms.in">happy new year 2016 sms</a>

<a href="http://new-year-sms.in">happy new year 2016 wishes</a>

<a href="http://new-year-sms.in">happy new year 2016 messages</a>

68
December 19, 2015 11:58 AM

When I was in graduate school, one of my professors, the legendary memory expert Gordon Bower, told a story of a paper he once wrote. He had conducted a study of word memory, but found that the results were muddled by an incidental social aspect of the experiment. The social effect intrigued him so that he wrote up the results and submitted them to a journal of social psychology, outside of his field. The editor of the journal responded, "Well Gordon, nice work. You've successfully replicated one of the best-known results in all of social psychology."

Send and share the best Best Christmas 2015 greetings  Happy Christmas quotes 2015 to your loved ones and spread lots of Christmas cheer! New Year SMS Collection, Send Free  Happy new year 2016 sms New Year SMS to Friends. SMS Collection For Everyone.new year 2016 wallpapers  |  new year Quotes 2016  |  Chinese new year 2016 | Happy Lohri 2016 | Republic Day Images

71
December 24, 2015 7:41 AM

This content is written very well. Your use of formatting when making your points makes your observations very clear and easy to understand. Thank youThis content is written very well. Your use of formatting when making your points makes your observations very clear and easy to understand. Thank you..

https://allhomeworkhelp.com 

72
December 24, 2015 8:33 AM

Truly, this article is really one of the very best in the history of articles. I am a antique ’Article’ collector and I sometimes read some new articles if I find them interesting.  https://www.allassignmenthelp.com

80
March 9, 2016 9:24 AM

This post is really helpful when it comes to picking baby names. I like the fact that you have tried to explain to us the different parameters that one should consider when naming a child. In the mean time, if you are a student at a higher academic level and you are looking for lkiterature review writing services, then look further as you can get all these services by clicking on the link below:Critical Literature Review

81
March 12, 2016 2:06 PM

I think that the best name for me would be

http://www.makemyassignments.com

82
April 11, 2016 10:34 PM

All of which brings us back to the Gordon Bower story. When anyone, even a brilliant scholar, walks into a whole new domain of knowledge, he's at a disadvantage: he doesn't know what is and isn't known. Thus it can be hard to tell the revelatory from the obvious. Any mom of a preschooler could have told Levitt that Emma wasn't a very clever prediction. It was news to him, though, so he didn't bother to dig deeper -- even to learn that Emma was already the #2 name in America. Which is a shame, because he was sitting on an absolute treasure trove of data which doubtless does have secrets to reveal.

stafaband
bokephd
download video
stafaband
download video gratis
download lagu mp3
Download Lagu Terbaru
Ngentod.info
Rena Kdi
Muviza
Laguku
Download Lagu
Hitslagu

85
May 13, 2016 11:52 AM

ll of which brings us back to the Gordon Bower story. When anyone, even a brilliant scholar, walks into a whole new domain of knowledge, he's at a disadvantage: he doesn't know what is and isn't known. Thus it can be hard to tell the revelatory from the obvious. Any mom of a preschooler could have told Levitt that Emma wasn't a very clever prediction. It was news to him, though, so he didn't bother to dig deeper -- even to learn that Emma was already the #2 name in America. Which is a shame, because he was sitting on an absolute treasure trove of data which doubtless does have secrets to reveal. Memorial day images

best compact camera 2016
sarabjit box office collection

 

 

 ll of which brings us back to the Gordon Bower story. When anyone, even a brilliant scholar, walks into a whole new domain of knowledge, he's at a disadvantage: he doesn't know what is and isn't known. Thus it can be hard to tell the revelatory from the obvious. Any mom of a preschooler could have told Levitt that Emma wasn't a very clever prediction. It was news to him, though, so he didn't bother to dig deeper -- even to learn that Emma was already the #2 name in America. Which is a shame, because he was sitting on an absolute treasure trove of data which doubtless does have secrets to reveal.

86
May 13, 2016 11:52 AM

h brings us back to the Gordon Bower story. When anyone, even a brilliant scholar, walks into a whole new domain of knowledge, he's at a disadvantage: he doesn't know what is and isn't known. Thus it can be hard to tell the revelatory from the obvious. Any mom of a preschooler could have told Levitt that Emma wasn't a very clever prediction. It was news to him, thohappy memorial day quotes funny memorial day ecards 

beautiful memorial day images 

 h brings us back to the Gordon Bower story. When anyone, even a brilliant scholar, walks into a whole new domain of knowledge, he's at a disadvantage: he doesn't know what is and isn't known. Thus it can be hard to tell the revelatory from the obvious. Any mom of a preschooler could have told Levitt that Emma wasn't a very clever prediction. It was news to him, tho

87
May 13, 2016 11:52 AM

 h brings us back to the Gordon Bower story. When anyone, even a brilliant scholar, walks into a whole new domain of knowledge, he's at a disadvantage: he doesn't know what is and isn't known. Thus it can be hard to tell the revelatory from the obvious. Any mom of a preschooler could have told Levitt that Emma wasn't a very clever prediction. It was news to him, thomemorial day pictures for facebook 

Memorial day images 

eid Mubarak images  h brings us back to the Gordon Bower story. When anyone, even a brilliant scholar, walks into a whole new domain of knowledge, he's at a disadvantage: he doesn't know what is and isn't known. Thus it can be hard to tell the revelatory from the obvious. Any mom of a preschooler could have told Levitt that Emma wasn't a very clever prediction. It was news to him, tho

88
June 12, 2016 4:17 AM

nice post btw.

nice post. your blog is awesome. <a href="http://newlagu.info">New Lagu</a> and <a href="http://musiclagu.wapka.mobi">Music Lagu</a>.

90
June 20, 2016 2:47 PM

This is a great page, many people looking forward to having little ones can refer to this page for good, brilliant and great names. Thank you very much for sharing. Meta description writing help

93
September 30, 2016 6:50 AM

I really like your  blog. Thanks for Sharing.

http://assignmentfirm.com/essay-writing-service.php

94
October 17, 2016 9:29 AM

best new year whatsapp status 
new year best images for free 2017

95
October 17, 2016 9:29 AM

best new year whatsapp status 

96
November 20, 2016 5:01 PM

<a href='http://www.pumpkincarvingidea.com/2016/11/download-happy-new-year-2017-hd-images-free.html'> Happy New Year 2017 Wallpapers</a>

<a href='http://www.pumpkincarvingidea.com/2016/11/animated-merry-christmas-wallpapers-images-photos.html'> Animated Merry Christmas Wallpapers 2016</a>

<a href='http://www.pumpkincarvingidea.com/2016/10/happy-thanksgiving-2017-wallpapers-in-hd.html'> Happy Thanksgiving Images</a>

<a href='http://www.pumpkincarvingidea.com/2016/10/merry-christmas-hd-wallpapers-images-pics.html'> Merry Christmas 2016 Wallpapers</a>

 

97
November 20, 2016 5:02 PM

[url=http://www.giftideas7.com/new-year-2017-wallpapers-in-hd/] Happy New Year 2017 Images[/url]  

[url=http://www.giftideas7.com/happy-thanksgiving-day-wallpapers-hd/] Happy thanksgiving 2016 Images[/url] 

[url=http://www.giftideas7.com/happy-birthday-images-cakes/] Happy Birthday Images[/url] 

[url=http://www.giftideas7.com/minute-to-win-it-games-list-for-parties/] Minute to win it games[/url]

 

98
January 5, 2017 1:24 AM

I am truly delighted to glance at this blog posts which includes plenty
of valuable information, thanks for providing such information.

 

<a href=" http://appsforsys.com/bhim-app-apk-download/">bhim</a>

99
February 6, 2017 5:26 AM

which alphabet name is good for feb born babies.

www.bestlaptopsdeals.com

100
February 22, 2017 12:31 AM

bye