Perception of Risk is Influenced by Ease of Pronunciation

I missed this study earlier  (HT: Bruce Schneier).  The result is exactly what one  would expect.   There has always been a general distrust of the alien, fear of the unknown.  The impact on IT is that when they bring new items up for review they can expect higher scrutiny for anything containing hard to pronounce names.  Experience teaches us that most innovations fail so when we encounter something unfamiliar we consider it more risky.   Difficulty in pronouncing its name  amplifies this effect.   In fact this is why we have proof of concepts, pilots and test markets for innovations.   When faced with three choices to make under time pressure we will tend to choose the one that is most familiar because cognitively we map what is familiar to safe.  Difficulty in pronouncing a name, can also slow the time it takes process the choice.   Look how long it took Linux to gain acceptance in the executive suite despite the cost differential and ease of pronunciation.  The experience of using it in the data center is now sufficiently broad that except in the most conservative companies, it is no longer considered risky.  Imagine how much longer it would have taken if the name was something like Lydrarjickavar.


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