[Daily article] December 31: Birthday-number effect

The birthday-number effect is the unconscious tendency of people to
prefer the numbers in the date of their birthday over other numbers.
First reported in 1997 by Japanese psychologists Shinobu Kitayama and
Mayumi Karasawa, the birthday-number effect has been shown to hold
across age and gender. The effect is most prominent for numbers over 12.
Birth dates are unconsciously associated with the self, and most people
like themselves; this has been offered as an explanation for the effect.
Conversely, people who do not like themselves tend not to exhibit the
effect. One lab study revealed an increase in favourable attitudes
towards prices that were secretly manipulated to match the day of the
month of the subjects’ birth, but a second study using birth year as
price did not lead to the same result. People also have an unconscious
preference for the letters in their name, and the two effects are
significantly correlated. Another study found that participants with
high self-esteem tended to prefer product names that included numbers
from their birthday along with letters from their name.

Read more:

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Today’s selected anniversaries:

1775:

American Revolutionary War: At the Battle of Quebec, British
forces repulsed an attack by the Continental Army to capture Quebec City
and enlist French Canadian support.

1857:

Queen Victoria selected Ottawa, then a small logging town, to
be the capital of the British colony of Canada.

1963:

Despite Prime Minister Roy Welensky’s efforts, the Central
African Federation officially collapsed, subsequently becoming three
separate nations: Zambia, Malawi and Rhodesia.

1986:

Three disgruntled employees set fire to the Dupont Plaza Hotel
in San Juan, Puerto Rico, killing more than 90 people and injuring 140
others (rescue efforts depicted), making it the second deadliest hotel
fire in United States history.

1999:

Panama took control of the Panama Canal Zone from the United
States, in accordance with the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties.

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Wiktionary’s word of the day:

hemerology:
The study of calendars, especially with a view to identifying propitious
days.

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Wikiquote quote of the day:

  I need not tell you that the world situation is very serious. That
must be apparent to all intelligent people. I think one difficulty is
that the problem is one of such enormous complexity that the very mass
of facts presented to the public by press and radio make it exceedingly
difficult for the man in the street to reach a clear appraisement of the
situation. … it is of vast importance that our people reach some
general understanding of what the complications really are, rather than
react from a passion or a prejudice or an emotion of the moment. … It
is virtually impossible at this distance merely by reading, or
listening, or even seeing photographs or motion pictures, to grasp at
all the real significance of the situation. And yet the whole world of
the future hangs on a proper judgment. It hangs, I think, to a large
extent on the realization of the American people, of just what are the
various dominant factors. What are the reactions of the people? What are
the justifications of those reactions? What are the sufferings? What is
needed? What can best be done? What must be done?  
–George Marshall

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