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Basic? Or Bizarre? Baby Monikers and Bear/Bull Markets
The Socionomist reveals that a rise in unique baby names correlates with rising social mood

By Nico Isaac
Tue, 30 Aug 2011 17:00:00 ET
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  • Apple
  • Bluebell
  • Seven
  • Alef
From top to bottom, the above list describes: A fruit, a brand of ice cream, a number, and the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Yet as a recent story on the entertainment website Frisky explains, these are also the names given by certain celebrities to their newborns in recent years. Some celebs give their human babies even wackier monikers than they do their pets. “Blanket” vs. “Bubbles,” for example. The first one is a boy, the second a chimpanzee.
But while the trend toward bizarre baby names seems fueled by the eccentricities of the uber-famous, in truth it reflects collective human psychology at its most basic. The July 2011 Socionomist revisits a May 2010 report, which identified the strong connection between social mood and popular baby names:
Parents tend to give their children increasingly unique names during bull markets [and rising social mood] and increasingly ordinary names during bear markets [and falling social mood].... Socionomics suggests that parents' tendency to choose ordinary names during bear markets reflects an evolutionary survival tactic: Blend with the herd in times of fear and uncertainty. It is logical that during bear markets, parents unconsciously fear that an unusual name could hurt their children's future job prospects or ability to fit in. During bull markets, on the other hand, parents feel an unusual name will help their children stand out in a positive way.
The July issue of The Socionomist presents a fascinating chart of the correlation in action. The chart spans from the 1940's to the present and plots the Dow/PPI vs. the percentage of American babies who receive the 50 most common names.
In pink-and-blue color coded lines, the chart reveals how rising stock trends over the past 70 years have coincided with uncommon names. This propensity also applies in reverse: Falling stock trends coincide with conventional names.
The giving of the four names at the beginning of this piece, while anecdotal, happen to fit the pattern nicely. All of them were given during powerful recent rallies in stocks: Apple (2004), Bluebell (2006), Alef (June 2011), Seven (July 2011).
This incredible connection between baby names and stock trends is just one of the groundbreaking insights contained in the July issue of The Socionomist. The publication also reveals how social mood shapes the violent "character" of popular television shows, the current trends of international drug laws, and the frequency of terrorist attacks abroad. Get the complete July issue of The Socionomist today.
Editor's Note: A brand-new, August issue of the monthly Socionomist has just been published. You get the feature study "Elliott Waves Discovered in Records of Transatlantic Slave Trade" plus other socionomic insights, such as why our homes are becoming "shelters," Las Vegas and the mob, and more. Get the July and August Socionomists now, instantly >>


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