Recent "Momentum" Influences Choices of Baby Names, NYU, Indiana Psychology Professors Find

How do people choose a name for their child? Researchers have long noted that the overall popularity of a name exerts a strong influence on people’s preferences-more popular names, such as Robert or Susan, are more frequent and, by their sheer ubiquity, drive more parents to adopt a similar choice. However, new research by psychologists at New York University and Indiana University, Bloomington suggests that the change in popularity of a name over time increasingly influences naming decisions in the United States. Like momentum traders in the stock market, parents today appear to favor names that have recently risen in popularity relative to names that are on the decline.