For example, because of massive number of films and online short videos, the population is convinced that Tesla is a great inventor. The population is more likely to give a positive opinion (or positive familiarity) and more attention on Tesla Inc, even though the greatness of an 19th inventor is unrelated with the trustworthiness of Tesla Inc.

Example 2: ZOOM technology, a company irrelevant with the online video conferencing technology, surged from 1.05 USD to 10.40 USD per share during the outbreak of Covid in early 2020. At the same time, Corona popularity also vastly increased.

What is the academic terminology or related papers on this heuristic?

Examples of similar effects include "stereotype heuristic".

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    $\begingroup$ "The population is more likely to give a positive opinion on Tesla Inc" Do you have evidence for this, or this is just a hypothetical assumption? $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Sep 27, 2021 at 16:29
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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of What is the name of the bias that associate a thing as good because it has a relation to another good thing? $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Sep 27, 2021 at 17:03
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    $\begingroup$ @ArnonWeinberg Hi Arnon, the link you posted is more related with "stereotype heuristic", just like if you find one Canadian friendly, then you would possibly think that all Canadians are more likely to be friendly. In your example, both X and Y are made by A; in this question, N. Tesla has nothing to do with with Tesla Inc. I am sure that you made a good point by providing one related heuristic. $\endgroup$
    – High GPA
    Sep 27, 2021 at 19:03
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    $\begingroup$ Makes sense @HighGPA, not sure if there is a separate term for this variety though. I heard that sales of Corona beer went up during the pandemic, despite the negative association, so the effect may not be robust. Also, the Halo Effect is an example of cognitive fluency, where effects like this are often demonstrated in experiments. $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Sep 27, 2021 at 19:39
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    $\begingroup$ pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9308427 This study showed that there was some inaccuracy in children interpreting the meaning of homonyms, interpreting the word as the primary homonym instead of the actual homonym. This may show that humans have an innate (though weak during adulthood) bias towards the primary homonym. So, if people learned about N. Tesla first, got a good impression of him and then wind up with a good impression of Tesla motors, this possible effect may be at play. Or maybe, this effect doesn't exist and the effect in children is just unfamiliarity with homonymity. $\endgroup$
    – A. Kvåle
    Nov 20, 2021 at 16:46

1 Answer 1


Associating Zoom Technologies with Zoom Video Communications is just a case of misattribution through lack of knowledge. https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/publicly-listed-zoom-video-communications-traders-buying-zoom-technologies-2019-4

Popularity of Corona (the pale lager) could be associated with the covid-19 outbreak but only through the coincidental pun association.

I cannot see how Tesla Inc. can be associated with the 19th/20th century engineer, Nikola Tesla, when he died long before the company was formed. I think that it is a tall order to associate the 2 together.

This is a prime example of correlation vs causation. Correlates do not necessarily mean causes. Or, as Wikipedia puts it

Correlation does not imply causation

You said in comments that

I understand that N. Tesla died a long time ago. However, recently after 2010, there are vast number of movies and short films about N. Tesla, and thus the popularity of N. Tesla increased (as identified by google metrics). Then comes the raise of Tesla Inc.

I don't know what metrics Google used, but please think about this.

Just because more people are aware of Nikola Tesla and his contributions toward electrical technology, it does not mean the increase in the stock market share price of Tesla Inc. was not due to the fact that there is a drive to get people to buy electric cars rather than fossil fueled cars for their environmental benefits.

Maybe it was another case of misattribution. After all, Ford was named after Henry Ford, the inventor of the Model T Ford, one of the first mass production vehicles, allowing Ford to achieve his aim of manufacturing the universal car. Bell Telecommunications was named after the inventor of the telephone,

Alexander Graham Bell, who also co-founded Bell Telephone Company in Boston, Massachusetts.

The list can go on.

Maybe there is a large group of investors who see the benefit of the work Tesla are doing and wish to invest in order to help Tesla Inc. to produce more efficient electric cars.

Maybe there is a large group of environmentalists who want to do the same.

It may be down to the "Halo Effect", put across in the answer by @ArnonWeinberg to What is the name of the bias that associate a thing as good because it has a relation to another good thing?

There is a lot of opinion and supposition within your question which needs to be addressed before these correlations can truly be attributed to the cause of these rises in figures.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi Chris thank you for your answer and I think you made a good point. However, I am not completely convinced. You claimed that: "because Tesla died in 20th, Tesla inc cannot be related with Tesla"; in fact, the popularity and influence of the figure N Tesla increased in 21st century thanks to the social media and film makers. I did not claim that Tesla share was increased due to N Tesla; what I suggest is a possible correlation of trust. May I kindly ask you to disclose any conflicts of interests, for example any direct or indirect long position on Tesla inc share? $\endgroup$
    – High GPA
    Nov 15, 2021 at 17:45
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    $\begingroup$ Nothing to declare @HighGPA $\endgroup$ Nov 15, 2021 at 17:46
  • $\begingroup$ Bell inc was indeed founded by Bell family, and I think Ford inc was also founded by Ford. Both of them are great companies. Tesla might also be a great company and I am just wondering if it possible that some misattribution of the public helped this company. $\endgroup$
    – High GPA
    Nov 15, 2021 at 17:49
  • $\begingroup$ Electric cars have both environmental benefits and disadvantages, for example, see bbc.co.uk/news/business-19830232 as well as the cited academic papars. Emphasizing only the benefits without acknowledging the cons is not academically rigor. Mentioning the cons while omitting the pros is also not objective and misleading. So it is not very convincing that the rational investors invested in Tesla primarily due to the environmental issue; it is definitely one important factor, though. The question is primarily focusing on psychological heuristics, anyways. $\endgroup$
    – High GPA
    Nov 15, 2021 at 17:56

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