According to the marketing literature on sound symbolism, ‘‘K’’ is overrepresented as the initial letter in top brand names relative to the frequency with which it appears as the initial letter of words in the English dictionary. However, it is now 35 years since the original study on ‘the K-effect’ was published and there is, of course, a possibility that trends have changed during that time. Using the Top 200 company names from the Fortune 500 list, and comparing the initial letter-frequency to two benchmarks (i.e. the relative frequencies of first letters of words in the English dictionary and Card and Eckler’s (1975) derived letter-frequencies), our analyses (using conservative Bonferroni corrections) reveal, in fact, that A and J are overrepresented as initial letters in top company names, while S is underrepresented. We argue that the paucity of company names starting with the letter K, and the fact that K is thought to be unique, may reflect an opportunity for those starting new companies.
The efference copy account of the tickle effect (i.e., our inability to tickle ourselves) predicts no tickle effect (i.e., an ability to tickle ourselves) when the trajectory of a tactile stimulus is perturbed relative to the associated movement, and there is evidence in support of this. The active inference account, however, predicts the tickle effect should survive trajectory perturbation. We test these accounts of the tickle effect under the hypothesis that previous findings are due to attentional modulation, and that the tickle effect will be found in a paradigm with no conscious attention directed to the trajectory perturbation. We thus expected to find support for active inference. Our first experiment confirms this hypothesis, while our second seeks to explain previous findings in terms of the modulation of the tickle sensation when there is awareness of, and different degrees of attention to, the spatial tactile and kinesthetic trajectories.