My name isn’t Anna!

Earlier today, I made my first blog post. After a few hours, I was excited to see that a couple of people had commented their thoughts and opinions. When I went to read their comments, however, I got extremely confused. They both referred to me as Anna.

meeeemmme pic found here

My name is Rachel.

At first, I assumed that I somehow made a mistake and displayed my name as Anna. I went to check, and surely enough my name said Rachel Sara Anton. I came to the conclusion that the first person must have seen my last name, Anton, and confused it with Anna. But how does that explain the second comment? I called my friend who is also in Science 200 and told her leave a comment that started off with “Hi RACHEL” in all caps so that no one else would get confused. I check back an hour later, and get this: a fourth person left a comment: “Anna, this blog was very interesting.”


COME ON GUYS. How could three people make the mistake of calling me Anna after my friend commented my real name in all caps, and my blog has my name clearly displayed as Rachel?

Then it hit me—social psychology.

Social psychology is the umbrella term that includes informational social influence and conformity, two of the concepts that I suspect caused my name to be Anna for the day.

Let’s start with informational social influence. This is defined as the phenomenon where people adopt the actions of others in an effort to perform a behavior correctly for a given situation. In my blog situation, the second person most likely assumed that the first person was correct and therefore adopted the behavior of calling me Anna. In this article, splits social influence into two types: private acceptance and public compliance. In this situation, public compliance was used. Public compliance is when we copy our peers because we fear rejection if we behave otherwise. Most people would do just as the second person did in this situation. We as people often assume that if our peers do something, it is okay for us to do it as well. Think about your mom’s favorite quote to keep you out of trouble: “If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?” This is especially prevalent in situations where the mission at hand is significant to us, such as a homework assignment this early in the school year.

Conformity also plays a role in my blog dilemma. Conformity is when we alter our own way of thinking in order to fit in with the group. Think about the fourth person who commented. He or she most likely saw two people call me Anna and only one person call me Rachel. In this case, the person most likely conformed to the majority, and the majority thought my name was Anna. Even if this person may have questioned if my name could be Rachel, he or she felt more comfortable calling me Anna because that’s what just about everyone else did. Although my blog post is a simple example, conformity is actually very complex and can be traced back to our brain (check out this article for a cool explanation).

I think this could all be related to the idea that science is not derived from eminent people, a concept we learned in class. Just as science is its own entity and cannot be claimed by “special” people, my name cannot be decided by my classmates. In the same way that we cannot simply trust observations and opinions about science, we cannot trust our peers just because they all trust each other.

This post was brought to you by RACHEL 🙂

5 thoughts on “My name isn’t Anna!

  1. Emma G Schadler

    Hey Rachel, sorry to hear about the mix-up, but I loved how you were able to turn it into this amazing blog post! All I could think of when you mentioned conformity was a speech someone from my high school gave about not being one of the buffalo that followed the rest of the buffalo off the cliff – or something of that nature.

    1. Emma G Schadler

      Accidentally sent that first one without finishing! So, this is 2/2. After thinking more about it, I tried to make connections to your explanation of public compliance to my own experiences. I don’t know if it happened in your school, but for about five or six months in 2011, the trend was to put a feather in your hair with a metal trap to keep it in place. I am somewhat ashamed to say that I definitely fell into the compliance section of that trend, rather than the deviant. The psychology behind conforming to your peers is something that has always both interested me and slightly freaked me out, because of how unconscious the compliance can be sometimes. Anyway, great post Rachel, hopefully the rest of the class will publicly comply and call you the correct name now! 😉

  2. Katharine Marie Sayer

    Just kidding! This post made me laugh. It’s crazy that since one person did it, it had a domino effect. I like your incorporation of the infamous mom quote. That reminds me of way back when when Justin Bieber originally got his hair cut.. or I guess in general whenever he styled his hair different. SO many boys completely followed the trend to be exactly like it, in an attempt to fit in. If you look ( at this video I just found, there are literally youtube videos on how to get your hair to match his. You can even find tutorials on his hair from 2012! Why people go with the trend instead of being their own person bewilders me, but I guess that’s just how the world works.

  3. Danielle Megan Sobel

    hey rachel! that is honestly so bizarre that multiple people called you anna on your post. I like in your blog where you said “my name cannot be decided by my classmates,” because although the first person may have made a mistake in calling you anna, the rest of the comments decided to call you that too, which is just incorrect.

  4. Jillian Nicole Beitter

    Great blog RACHEL:) I think it’s amazing how much we all try to conform so that we can feel included and avoid rejection. In your case, it’s a pretty funny example. Unfortunately in today’s society, people do it too much. They try to be like others and act like others to essentially fit in. My younger brother absolutely hates the beach. If he was ever spotted at the beach, it would be by force and you’d find him covered by towels under an umbrella. Recently, I got a text from my mom saying that my brother actually went to the beach with his friends today. Now I know my brother, he did not automatically begin to love the beach. He went to the beach because his friends were going, so he adopted their behavior and decided to go to the beach as well. This is just one example of people conforming to others actions and likes just to feel comfortable.

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