New York, Jan 14: Do you often get confused while calling your kids having similar-sounding names – like Ananya/Advika, Sara/Zara, Vidisha/Bidisha?
If we believe a new psychology study from University of Texas (UT) at Austin, parents set themselves up for speech errors when they give their children similar-sounding names.
The findings show that what many people consider to be ‘Freudian slips’, may be a quirk in the brain’s information-retrieval process.
“Because name substitutions are increased by factors like name similarity and physical similarity, they should not be seen as purely Freudian or reflecting preferences for one child over another. People shouldn’t read too much into the errors,” said Zenzi Griffin, professor of psychology at UT Austin.
The researchers conducted online surveys with 334 respondents with one or more siblings.
As part of the study, published in the journal PLOS One, participants were asked to rate similarities in appearance and personality with their siblings, as well as the frequency of their parent accidentally confusing their names.
“Participants whose names shared sounds with a sibling reported that their parents accidentally called them by the wrong name more often than those without such name overlap,” said Thomas Wangerman, formerly of Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta.
This was especially prevalent among younger siblings who were close in age and of the same gender with their siblings.
The majority of respondents who reported low rates of name substitutions were first-born siblings, which may be due to their names being used more often, the researchers note.
According to Griffin, this unexpected finding shows how social and situational factors play a role in how parents retrieve names when addressing their child directly.