Everyone loves looking up baby name lists, right? Whether or not you are expecting, it’s always fun to see what trends baby name experts are predicting for the coming year. But did you know that natural disasters and other cultural factors play a role in how we choose our child’s name?
According to Wharton marketing professors Jonah Berger and Eric Bradlow — from their upcoming article “From Karen to Katie: Using Baby Names to Understand Cultural Evolution” to be published in the Psychological Science journal — we are more inclined to choose a name that sounds similar to natural disasters than we may want to readily admit. For example, the profs looked at more than 100 years worth of people’s first names and the names of hurricanes. They found that, the bigger the natural disaster, the more the name of the hurricane popped up in casual conversation and, before you know it, there are more girls named “Katie” or “Cassidy” based on its similarities to the sound of the name “Katrina” — as in, Hurricane Katrina.
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