European Review of Social Psychology vol:25 issue:1 pages:228-262
People show a preference for the letters occurring in their name (Name-Letter Effect, Nuttin, 1984), a phenomenon that has inspired the development of a frequently used indirect measure of self-esteem. This article reviews the literature on the Name-Letter Effect as the basis for this measure. It discusses the tasks that have been used to measure name-letter preferences and the algorithms that have been designed to extract self-esteem scores from them. It also reviews the evidence that name-letter preferences are valid indicators of self-esteem. The article shows that current knowledge on the value of name-letter preferences as measures of self-esteem is limited by (a) the inherent difficulty of assessing the validity of implicit measures, (b) the use of different, insufficiently justified algorithms, (c) a historical focus on preferences for initials, and (d) neglect of the state-trait distinction. The article ends with recommendations for the use of name-letter preferences to measure self-esteem.