Thursday, December 30, 2010

The "Scott" phenomenen

My whole life, when people have gotten my name wrong, 90% of the time they have called me Scott. Not just strangers; people I know well often misspeak and call me Scott. It is the strangest thing. As I have talked to other Todds over the years, I have discovered that my experience is not unique. Invariably, the response will be "you get that Scott thing too!"

Last night, I hosted our long-time neighbor for a beer. As he was leaving, he said "goodnight Scott." I busted out laughing and decided that it is time for me to investigate this phenomenen more deeply. A Google search lead me to this site, with the following comments:
  • "Comment left Aug 16, 2009: ""Todd from Australia. I get Scott all the time too, even from a mate who has called me Scott on and off for 20 years! Another Todd I met in the USA said that the Harvard linguistics department did research on the Todd/Scott mix up and its got to do with a part of the brian where the words sound similar. Although I have never heard of other people's names being mixed up by the same name...""
  • Comment left Nov 09, 2009: "I was just called Scott by a co-worked that I've worked with for three years. He is well aware of my name, but still called me Scott in passing. I told him that 99% of the time since college(over the last 30 years) when I've been called the wrong name it was Scott. This has been from people that just have meet me or from those that have known me for a long time. I was curious so searched the net today and found this blog. It's good to see that I'm not the only one who has noticed this strange occurance, and that it is not just coincidence, but may actually be able to be explained medically."
  • Comment left Jan 16, 2010: "Yah, I get the Scott thing too."
  • Comment left Feb 10, 2010: "Too funny. Here I was researching my name and I come to find out that lots of Todds are being called Scott. Same thing happens to me, and has been for years!!"
  • Comment left Feb 20, 2010: "Yes, my name is Todd and I have been called Scott more than any other. Actually, my own mother called me Scott one time."
  • Comment left Mar 23, 2010: "I'm a birth year 1965 Todd and yes I get the Scott thing all the time."
  • Comment left May 26, 2010: "I get the Scott thing too."
  • Comment left Jul 23, 2010: "All my life i have been mistakenly called Scott from relatives, bosses and teachers. I love it when someone says when i've corrected them - oh, you look like a Scott."
  • Comment left Jul 23, 2010: "Boy here I thought I might have been a Scott in a past life ;-) "
  • Comment left Sep 07, 2010: "I too am a Todd who is frequently called Scott. I am glad to hear that it isn't just me, not sure what that phonemenon's about though."
  • Comment left Sep 08, 2010: "This is such a lark that I came across this and discovered vindication for the Scott thing. Years of people calling me Scott just after being introduced to them. I was about to get religious and peer into past lives to try and explain this."
  • Comment left Dec 03, 2010: "When ever I meet another "Todd," I ask if they get called Scott. The answer is overwhelmingly yes. I'm a 1961 Todd. Interestingly, I ask Scott's if they get called Todd, they look at me in funny way, and say no."
  • Comment left Dec 18, 2010: "This has got to be one of the greatest treats to have stumbled in my life of internet surfing. My fiance yelled back, "are you kidding me, a support group for people named, Todd?" I said yeah, and they all get called Scott, too!"
It is just weird.


  1. My name is Todd. This has happened to me my whole life.
    However, NOW I know WHY.
    I now can explain the Todd/Scott Effect.

    Turns out, phoneme wise, Todd and Scott are very close. Watch what your tounge does when you say Scott, and then when you say Todd.
    So the name Scott is much more common. Sometimes when the person is about to say Todd, the brain does a wrong lookup phoneitcally and goes to the more common name, Scott. Thats why it is always the same, never bill, bob or Harry ALWAYS Scott. THere must be other name pairs out there too, phoneme wise.

  2. I can explain the Todd/Scott effect.

  3. Roofertodd@yahoo.com3:22 AM

    My name is Todd, and I'm Scottaholic. I'm a 1962 Todd & have been researching this phenom for over 30 years. And if you happen to have a brother, cousin, coworker or dog named Scott-this is NOT a factor. Thus you have been taken out of the equation to appease those who believe this is the source of 'our problem'. Yeah, I wish it was that simple. I've been told since I was a kid that I was making a big deal out of being called the wrong name: "It happens to everybody, get over it!", even by my own Mom. I might have bought into that if I was constantly called "Rod" or "Tom"...but I wasn't. I've heard ever excuse from Family, friends etc who would randomly call me the 'S' word, & when corrected would say "No I didn't Todd!". I actually got so tired of this No-Win situation I just answered to "It". Even in business I found people I NEVER met in person addressed me as "Scott" in emails & on the phone, after YEARS of contact. There goes the "You look like a Scott defense. Once I passed a guy my age w/Todd on his jacket & politely said "Hi Scott", he spun around w/rage in his eyes until I told him my name. He then hugged me & had me call his wife to confirm he wasn't nuts. My Mom, God Bless Her, still doesn't believe me. When my Son was born she asked why I didn't have Todd in his name, I told her I Love him too much. My Wife works w/the public & enjoys sharing my research w/Todds & has over 80% agreement. We have also found that younger Todds (under 25) have less than 35% "Scottattacks", this perplexes me. But then most of my life I've been told I'm crazy! I'm

  4. Anonymous5:22 PM

    I know another Todd that mistakenly called me Scott. I asked him if he's ever been called Scott and he laughed and said yes. I told him I've been called Scott dozens of times. He turned me on to this site. Too funny!!! I'm a 1970 Todd.