The classic purported around the interwebs is of Dennis the Dentist or Lawrence the Lawyer - the idea that a person is likely to choose a career or place to live because it reminds them of their name. I've read some contrary reports on this but this paper: "Why Susie Sells Seashells by the Seashore: Implicit Egotism and Major Life Decisions" seems to be the origin. So is this a real phenomenon and is the decision really about people's own names? Is it more likely to be a form of pareidolia from those conducting the studies? I'm skeptical of the claim for many reasons, but there seems to be a reported correlation at least.

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    you mean are meaningful names more common than randomness can account for? seems to me like a confirmation bias plays a large role here – ratchet freak Dec 7 '12 at 19:47
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    New Scientist had a series of (non-serious) items on "nominative determinism" – RedGrittyBrick Dec 7 '12 at 20:05
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    @RedGrittyBrick "Hunt's example is an article on incontinence in the British Journal of Urology .... by A. J. Splatt and D. Weedon" That's too funny not to be a pure coincidence. :P – Omnomnomnom Dec 7 '12 at 20:10
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    A disproportionate number of Jacks in Jacksonville could be the bias of parents when naming their children, rather than the other way around. To a lesser degree, parental pressure could also affect career choice ("We named him Lawrence, because we knew he'd be a lawyer.") – Flimzy Dec 7 '12 at 20:23
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    @Flimzy - yeah, that's true. Also, a few have speculated that at least some of the Dennis/Dentist coincidences might be due to social status as well, as in, Dennis might be a name chosen by more middle to upper-class families whose children are more likely to be dentists and doctors, etc. – Omnomnomnom Dec 7 '12 at 20:28

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