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The Thoughtful Animal

The Thoughtful Animal

Exploring the evolution and architecture of the mind

George Alexander Louis: What’s In A Name?

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My latest at The Guardian is on the psychology of first name choices - a timely topic, as the royal family has just announced the name of the latest heir to the throne: George Alexander Louis. Read on to find out why that choice was fairly predictable.

"What's in a name?" Shakespeare has Juliet ask in Act II, Scene II of Romeo and Juliet. "That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet," she says – arguing that a name is merely a label, and a label does not change the essence of a thing.

It's a lovely sentiment, but modern psychological science comes to a different conclusion.

For many in the UK, and indeed around the world, one name that matters a great deal is that of William and Kate's newborn baby. On Monday afternoon, the Associated Press reported that the betting agency Ladbrokes had taken 50,000 bets as the Duchess of Cambridge went into labour. Favourite names were Alexandra for a girl – no longer relevant – and James or George for a boy.

Read the rest over at Guardian Science: William and Kate: whatever you do, don't call him Kevin.

Image via Flickr/Beacon Radio.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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