So, apparently, we think people called James are charismatic, Sarahs are kind, Lauras are bad team players and Christophers are really intelligent but anti-social.
Our fondness for assigning random characteristics to names for no good reason explains a lot. The same sort of flawed reasoning is used by racists, xenophobes, anti-semites and the like to demonise other people and rob them of their status as individuals.
Linda Blair, a psychologist, described how our brains have a tendency to create mental ‘shortcuts’ – stereotypes – to help deal with information overload, adding that this was a “real problem in today’s world”.
The Age of the Internet has had many benefits but it may have also helped bring about the rise of far-right populism, ‘identitarians’, anti-immigrant sentiment, Brexit and Donald Trump.
Sometimes, we really do fail to live up to the name we gave ourselves, Homo sapiens, the ‘wise’ humans. Maybe it’s time to be a bit more humble and recognise our shortcomings by changing our name to Homo insipiens.