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RE: What's in a name? --OFF TOPIC

Poster: "Ryan Snead" <rsnead@gmu.edu>

This reminds me of a social/cognitive psych experiment that I heard about in
one of my undergrad classes. The experimenters set up a booth in a mall
where they would give you an analysis of your personality based on your
astrological sign, time of birth, and various other factors. I think they
may have even thrown Name into the mix.

After reading the description, participants/patrons were surveyed on how
closely the description matched their personality and general disposition.
The trick of it was that they gave some people completely bogus information
that was randomly selected by a computer, and others had their descriptions
based on their astrology.

The result? People ate it up. Regardless of whether they got the true
astrological information or the bogus info, they believed every word of it,
and even pointed out details where the description was particularly telling
of their personality! I'm not sure whether this says more about social
cognition (what people will believe) or the validity of "personality" as a
psychological construct. As I recall, the authors of the study took the
social cognition angle as their explanation.

In a follow-up study, the researchers gave ALL-BOGUS info where they
included conflicting personality information in the same description. People
found these descriptions to be even more "on the mark," rating them more
accurate on a 10 point scale than participants in the previous study rated
the descriptions given to them.

> Poster: SCAVard@aol.com
> The following site was been passed along to me:
> http://www.kabalarians.com/gkh/your.htm
> SUPPOSEDLY, the site does an analysis (?) of your name and tells
> you what kind
> of personality you have, including your strengths, weaknesses, how you
> interact with others, and (get this) your health prospects.
> Hmm, "Strong-willed", "Domineering", "Too certain of yourself",
> "Not open to
> the view of others", "Non-diplomatic"  Suprizingly, a very close
> description.
No comment.

> Whoa!  All of this because I chose "Vard" as my SCA name.  Amazing!
> Just to make sure it didn't spit the same result out for EVERY
> name, I gave it
> "Kenneth" (my mundane name), and it *was* different.  But it was
> eeerily on
> the mark, too, as it claimed that I was, "creative, versatile and
> imaginative", that I'm moody and can become "caustic and
> belligerent in (my)
> attitude toward everyone", and that I should "cultivate a more
> relaxed manner"
Yeah, ok. This gets back to my question about the stability of "personality"
as a psychological construct.

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