I think it may happen with people who have lack of confidence, for example shy people. So in conversation they often add proper nouns (eg. names of persons or countries) to give "evidence" and weight of their sayings.
In fact, I am interested either such a phenomenon exists, not necessarily having a name for it.


-Do you like cheese?
-Yes, but not the types they have here, like the commercial Mozarrela. Now, if you were in a Mediterranean country, that's other story. Like in Spain or Italy. I remember the tasty cheeses from my trip in Sicilia.
-Hey, that place has a bad reputation...
-Ha, I felt like Michael Corleone

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    $\begingroup$ This is going to need a lot more clarification, Canada. $\endgroup$ – Chuck Sherrington Mar 16 '13 at 7:26
  • $\begingroup$ @ChuckSherrington Can you explain the use of "Canada" to a non-native speaker? $\endgroup$ – user1196 Mar 16 '13 at 13:36
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    $\begingroup$ @what I was just teasing by putting a country name in my statement to add weight :) It did need some clarification, and thanks for providing it. $\endgroup$ – Chuck Sherrington Mar 16 '13 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ I think this question is somewhat loaded. Can OP show that "shy people" name drop more than confident people? How do you know that you're net being selective in your memories of personal interactions? $\endgroup$ – Keegan Keplinger Mar 17 '13 at 13:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Xurtio For your first question, I said "it may happen", so it is up to the answerer to clarify it. My hypothesis might be wrong. I don't understand your second question-for example to whom are you referring by "your memories"? $\endgroup$ – Theta30 Mar 17 '13 at 16:19

The behavior to lend credibility or importance to one's statements is called "name dropping".

Name dropping is a typical ingratiation tactic. Other ingratiation tactics are: other-enhancement, opinion conformity, self-enhancement, self-depreciation, instrumental dependency, and a variety of situation specific behaviors. While ingratiating behavior is strongest towards superiors across all people, there are people who show more or less ingratiating behavior across all situations and relationships (Bohra & Pandey, 1984).

Besides this function of name dropping "to position oneself in a status hierarchy", where people "may claim connections to celebrities or other high-status people to raise their own status" and impress their listeners, "[n]ame display is also used to discover whether there is a common bond between new acquaintances. People who lived in the same city or attended the same school may go through long lists of names seeking common ground." (Donath & Boyd, 2004)

This function of "seeking common ground" can not only be achieved by dropping personal names of possible common acquaintances, but also by naming authors, movies or products that you enjoy: if your partner knows and likes Mozzarella or Michael Corleone, too, these common interests form a basis for a new friendship that would have otherwise been difficult to build.

In short: you have to be careful and porperly analyze the person and situation to understand the causes and aims of name dropping.


  • Bohra, K. A., & Pandey, J. (1984). Ingratiation toward strangers, friends, and bosses. Journal of Social Psychology, 122(2), 217-222. doi:10.1080/00224545.1984.9713483
  • Donath, J., & Boyd, D. (2004). Public Displays of Connection. BT Technology Journal, 22(4), 71-82. doi:10.1023/B:BTTJ.0000047585.06264.cc
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  • $\begingroup$ Also could be considered an appeal to authority. $\endgroup$ – Keegan Keplinger Mar 17 '13 at 3:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Xurtio Could you provide an example? $\endgroup$ – user1196 Mar 17 '13 at 6:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Xurtio "Also could be considered an appeal to authority" Definitely, in fact Wikipedia mentions that $\endgroup$ – Theta30 Mar 17 '13 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Theta30 Wikipedia provides neither an example nor a source. $\endgroup$ – user1196 Mar 18 '13 at 5:52

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