Parents Accidentally Substitute Similar Sounding Sibling Names More Often then Dissimilar Names




Griffin, Zenzi M.
Wangerman, Thomas - Georgia Institute of Technology

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When parents select similar sounding names for their children, do they set themselves up for more speech errors in the future? Questionnaire data from 334 respondents suggest that they do. Respondents whose names shared initial or final sounds with a sibling’s reported that their parents accidentally called them by the sibling’s name more often than those without such name overlap. Having a sibling of the same gender, similar appearance, or similar age was also associated with more frequent name substitutions. Almost all other name substitutions by parents involved other family members and over 5% of respondents reported a parent substituting the name of a pet, which suggests a strong role for social and situational cues in retrieving personal names for direct address. To the extent that retrieval cues are shared with other people or animals, other names become available and may substitute for the intended name, particularly when names sound similar.



Zenzi M. Griffin, Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, United States of America
Zenzi M. Griffin, Thomas Wangerman, School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America

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Griffin ZM, Wangerman T (2013) Parents Accidentally Substitute Similar Sounding Sibling Names More Often than Dissimilar Names. PLoS ONE 8(12): e84444. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084444