Implicit Egotism: How Johnny from Saint John’s Makes Decisions and Enhances the Self

Document Type


Publication Date



Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Pamela Bacon, Psychology


People tend to prefer things that remind them of themselves, such as their name. This unconscious preference is known as implicit egotism. Two studies were conducted to extend archival research of implicit egotism to different name spellings and college attendance and to extend experimental research to highly negative and highly positive stimuli. The archival study looked at four Minnesota colleges and universities. Students were more likely to attend a school that resembled their first or last name than a school that did not resemble their name. The experimental study asked participants who had either experienced a self-threat or not to evaluate a target that had either highly positive or highly negative traits and a last name that was either similar or different from their last name. Implicit egotism did not seem to affect the target ratings. These studies indicated that implicit egotism’s impact may depend on the decision’s characteristics.