Few parents would admit to naming their baby after a hurricane. But unconsciously that might be exactly what many of us are doing — or at least appropriating the sounds of a name that, if the storm grows large enough, is uttered over and over on the news and in the course of casual conversation.
According to Wharton marketing professors Jonah Berger and Eric Bradlow, that unintended impact of such natural disasters can tell marketers a lot about how the sights and sounds that we’re exposed to every day can impact our choices and, in turn, influence the consumer goods, music, movies and even baby names that become popular. Their paper, “From Karen to Katie: Using Baby Names to Understand Cultural Evolution,” is forthcoming in the journal Psychological Science.
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