Reporting Pat Loeb
By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – What’s in a name? Could it be your chances of success?
Probably not, but that doesn’t stop people from trying to find a link.
The latest effort is from a job recruiter website, which claimed that five-letter names lead to higher incomes.
“There’s an interesting lesson here about how not to interpret data,” says Temple psychology professor Don Hentula.
He says the “research” by the website The Ladders is suspect for a number of reasons including its not randomized, the information is self-reported and the sample size is huge.
“There’s something called the law of large numbers. If you have a big enough data set, something’s going to fall out of it,” Hentula explains.
But he says the effort to find connections is only human, an instinct built through evolution.
“We try to make sense out of patterns or we try to make patterns out of stuff that doesn’t exist because if we didn’t we’d be dead a long time ago,” he says.
So, some people read horoscopes, others find correlations between name length and success. He says you can even do-it-yourself.
“All you need is a little bit of computing power and good, free software and you can correlate and regress to your heart’s content,” says Hentula.