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Surprising Science

How the Alphabet Orders the World

Researchers have found that people whose last names come later in the alphabet are more impulsive shoppers than those earlier in the alphabet.

People waiting in line for days for the latest must-have product are probably a bunch of Zimmermans, Youngs, and, yes, Wilkinses, according to a truly bizarre new study. It’s apparently all the fault of elementary school teachers overusing alphabetical order. Researchers tracked consumer patterns in a variety of situations. They consistently found that people whose last names came later in the alphabet tended to buy items far more quickly than those earlier in the alphabet, and the effect got stronger and stronger the later a person’s name appeared in the alphabet.


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