The psychology of naming a hurricane
Like many decisions that seem arbitrary at first, hurricane naming has unexpected practical consequences. In the mid-1980s, Belgian psychologist Jozef Nuttin showed that people like their initials more than they like other letters in the alphabet. For example, in one study Nuttin found that Europeans who spoke 12 different languages were 50% more likely to identify their own name letters among their top six favorite letters of the alphabet.
In a more recent twist on Nuttin’s basic result, psychologist Jesse Chandler and his colleagues found that people donate significantly more money to hurricanes that share their initials. So Roberts, Ralphs and Roses donated on average 260% more to the Hurricane Rita relief fund than did people without R initials. Also in 2005, people with K initials donated 150% more to the Katrina relief fund, and in 2004 people with I initials donated 100% more to the Ivan relief fund.