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Saturday
Jan222011

Study: Last Names Can Affect Buying Habits

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Always hated being picked last in the alphabetical name game? A new study finds organization by last names during childhood may dictate your buying habits during adulthood.

"The Last Name Effect," published in the Journal of Consumer Research, found that people with last names towards the end of the alphabet are quicker to buy or be at the front of the line than those with names at the beginning of the alphabet.

Researchers believe the habits are linked to childhood and constant alphabetizing during school. Children with late-letter last names tended to wait longer for things, and therefore compensate later in life, according to the study.

The researchers noted that children who have last names starting with the letters R-Z often found themselves at the back of the line, or in the last row of the classroom. As adults, these people would be more likely to "act on opportunities to make up for the inequality," they said.

But is it inequality, or just impatience? Researchers carried out four experiments to test their hypothesis and found a person named Anderson would wait 25 percent more time than a person named Zimmer to buy a hot-ticket item.

"Those with last names early in the alphabet will be so accustomed to being first that individual opportunities to make a purchase won't matter very much; they'll buy late," the researchers said.

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