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Why Shakira became a singer and Anya Taylor-Joy an actress: scientists revealed the surprising connection between a name and a person's career

Anna BoklajukNews
The latest study explains why Shakira became a singer

Researchers at the University of Utah have found that people's names may be the reason for what profession they choose. In a new study, they found that people are attracted to places and professions that share the first letter of their name, which is known as "nominal determinism."

According to the team, this may explain why Shakira became a singer and Anya Taylor-Joy became an actress. To test this theory, researchers at the University of Utah analyzed 3,410 names from Common Crawl, Twitter, Google News, and Google Books, MailOnline reports.

Why Shakira became a singer and Anya Taylor-Joy an actress: scientists revealed the surprising connection between a name and a person's career

When surnames first appeared in the 11th century, they were often a simple reflection of someone's career. Nominative determinism goes further, arguing that people subconsciously choose life choices that better fit their names. Even after controlling for factors such as gender and ethnicity, the researchers found that nominal determinism seemed to have a consistent effect across the data. People's names were associated with careers with a matching first letter more often than would be expected by chance.

"We find consistent evidence of a link between people's names and the preference for a major life choice that begins with the same letter as their name," the researchers comment on the study.

Why Shakira became a singer and Anya Taylor-Joy an actress: scientists revealed the surprising connection between a name and a person's career

Interestingly, the researchers also found that the effects of nominative determinism were not consistent across years or between genders. At the beginning of the 20th century, the evidence suggests that nominative determinism had a greater impact on men than women, but this difference has diminished over time. Researchers suggest that when women gained more freedom to choose their own careers, nominal determinism began to have a more pronounced effect.

Scientists suggest that nominative determinism is a product of a psychological factor called "implicit egotism." This is the theory that people are subconsciously attracted to places, people, and things that remind them of themselves.

However, it is worth noting that this influence is small and can be overwhelmed by more significant factors. For example, in this recent study, researchers found that those who had studied in higher education were less influenced by nominal determinism. They suggest that this may be because a diploma is a bigger identity marker than the first letter of your name.

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