By: TIME: By Jeffrey Kluger
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Remember the Volkswagen Scirocco? Didn't think so. Ever go out of your way to shop for Xylitol? Not lately, right? And it's a pretty safe bet you don't know too many people named Eleutheria.
It's not just that all of these names are a nuisance to spell and a mouthful to pronounce - though they are. It's that they strike us as downright dangerous. That, at least, is the conclusion of a new study published in the journal Psychological Science - and it's a study that ought to give pause to any manufacturer with a product to brand or parent with a baby to name.
It's no secret that people like shorthand names. Bartholomew almost always becomes Bart, Alexander gets squeezed down to Alex and Margaret - inexplicably - turns into Peggy. Coca-Cola had barely dented the national consciousness before it was compressed to a short and sweet Coke. Ditto the National Biscuit Co., which sounds like a place that manufactures dog chew toys - until you abbreviate it to the scrumptious Nabisco.
To read the entire news release, see the TIME's website at http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1881325,00.html.