The name-letter effect is the tendency of people to prefer the letters in their name over other letters in the alphabet. Discovered in 1985 by the Belgian psychologist Jozef Nuttin, the effect has been replicated in dozens of studies. Whether subjects are asked to rank all letters of the alphabet, rate letters individually, choose one of two letters, or pick a small set of letters, on average people prefer the letters in their own name, but few are aware that they are choosing letters from their name. The effect has been attributed to the fact that most people associate their names with themselves, and like themselves. People who do not like themselves tend not to exhibit the name-letter effect. In psychological assessments, the Name Letter Preference Task is widely used to estimate implicit self-esteem. There is some evidence that people have been influenced by the name-letter effect even when making important decisions, although many studies have been controversial.
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