Six weeks ago today, I gave birth to a baby girl. Like her older sister, she spent the first few days of life without a name.
You see, my husband and I wanted to get our children’s names just right, and that meant taking some time to consider the options and get a feel for how well they fit each new baby. But we also happen to be cognitive scientists of an evidence-based persuasion so, for us, it also meant gathering and analyzing some data.
The first round of data collection was of the usual, informal sort, and it happened long before our first baby was due. We perused lists of baby names on websites, investigated name meanings and origins and looked up name frequencies over time. Then we generated a rough list of our favorites — the ones we could agree on, that is — and solicited limited feedback from our families. We vetoed input on how much our family members liked various names. But we did want to make sure we weren’t overlooking any problems, such as cultural associations we didn’t know about or possible meanings in other languages.
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