Study shows Americans are not great at picking past presidents out of a crowd

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Study Shows Americans Are Not Great At Picking Past Presidents Out Of A Crowd

American citizens are in the midst of electing the nation's 45th president, but it appears few among us have an entirely firm grasp on who has held the office in the past.

According to a recent study by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, while general name recognition of important U.S. historical figures is high, correctly classifying those individuals is less so.

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For example, 71% of those questioned were rather confident that Alexander Hamilton was once the nation's leader.

The survey yielding that and other surprising results was administered online and contained a number of familiar-sounding names, most real but some not.

Participants were asked to say whether or not each belonged to a past U.S. president and indicate how confident they were in their response.

While Hamilton was most often incorrectly identified, Benjamin Franklin, Hubert Humphrey, and John Calhoun were also often declared former presidents.

As far as trick entries, a surprising number of respondents connected the name Thomas Moore with the high office.

Though there have been people in politics with that name, none are of great historic significance.

RELATED: Click through to learn more about the presidents and their zodiac signs

44 PHOTOS
U.S. presidents' zodiac signs
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Study shows Americans are not great at picking past presidents out of a crowd

John Tyler - #43

Sign: Aries
Date of Birth: March 29, 1790

Common Aries traits: curious, energetic, strong initiative, can be impulsive

(Photo by GraphicaArtis/Getty Images)

Thomas Jefferson - #42

Sign: Aries
Date of Birth: April 13, 1743

Common Aries traits: curious, energetic, strong initiative, can be impulsive

(Photo by GraphicaArtis/Getty Images)

James Buchanan - #41

Sign: Taurus
Date of Birth: April 23, 1791

Common Taurus traits: methodical, patient, seek stability, can be stubborn

(Photo by National Archive/Newsmakers)

Ulysses S. Grant - #40

Sign: Taurus
Date of Birth: April 27, 1822

Common Taurus traits: methodical, patient, seek stability, can be stubborn

(Photo by Kean Collection/Getty Images)

James Monroe - #39

Sign: Taurus
Date of Birth: April 28, 1758

Common Taurus traits: methodical, patient, seek stability, can be stubborn

(Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

Harry S. Truman - #38

Sign: Taurus
Date of Birth: May 8, 1884

Common Taurus traits: methodical, patient, seek stability, can be stubborn

(Photo by Stock Montage/Getty Images)

John F. Kennedy - #37

Sign: Gemini
Date of Birth: May 29, 1917

Common Gemini traits: communicative, social, versatile, can be indecisive

(AP Photo)

George H. W. Bush - #36

Sign: Gemini
Date of Birth: June 12, 1924

Common Gemini traits: communicative, social, versatile, can be indecisive

(AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi, File)

Calvin Coolidge - #35

Sign: Cancer
Date of Birth: July 4, 1872

Common Cancer traits: loyal, protective, creative, can be pessimistic

(Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

George W. Bush - #34

Sign: Cancer
Date of Birth: July 6, 1946

Common Cancer traits: loyal, protective, creative, can be pessimistic

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

John Quincy Adams - #33

Sign: Cancer
Date of Birth: July 11, 1767

Common Cancer traits: loyal, protective, creative, can be pessimistic

(Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Gerald Ford - #32

Sign: Cancer
Date of Birth: July 14, 1913

Common Cancer traits: loyal, protective, creative, can be pessimistic

(Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)

Barack Obama - #31

Sign: Leo
Date of Birth: August 4, 1961

Common Leo traits: proud, loving, see the big picture, can be arrogant and headstrong

(Photo by Chuck Kennedy/MCT/MCT via Getty Images)

Herbert Hoover - #30

Sign: Leo
Date of Birth: August 10, 1874

Common Leo traits: proud, loving, see the big picture, can be arrogant and headstrong

(Photo by Stock Montage/Stock Montage/Getty Images)

Bill Clinton - #29

Sign: Leo
Date of Birth: August 19, 1946

Common Leo traits: proud, loving, see the big picture, can be arrogant and headstrong

(Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Benjamin Harrison - #28

Sign: Leo
Date of Birth: August 20, 1833

Common Leo traits: proud, loving, see the big picture, can be arrogant and headstrong

(Photo by National Archive/Newsmakers)

Lyndon Baines Johnson - #27

Sign: Virgo
Date of Birth: August 27, 1908

Common Virgo traits: meticulous, good-natured, modest, can be judgmental

(AP photo/Henry Burroughs)

William Howard Taft - #26

Sign: Virgo
Date of Birth: September 15, 1857

Common Virgo traits: meticulous, good-natured, modest, can be judgmental

(AP Photo)

Jimmy Carter - #25

Sign: Libra
Date of Birth: October 1, 1924

Common Libra traits: just, seek balance, diplomatic, can be indecisive

(AP Photo/Ira Schwarz)

Rutherford B. Hayes - #24

Sign: Libra
Date of Birth: October 4, 1822

Common Libra traits: just, seek balance, diplomatic, can be indecisive

(AP Photo)

Chester A. Arthur - #23

Sign: Libra
Date of Birth: October 5, 1829

Common Libra traits: just, seek balance, diplomatic, can be indecisive

(Photo by National Archive/Newsmakers)

Dwight D. Eisenhower - #22

Sign: Libra
Date of Birth: October 14, 1890

Common Libra traits: just, seek balance, diplomatic, can be indecisive

(AP Photo/Harvey Georges)

Theodore Roosevelt - #21

Sign: Scorpio
Date of Birth: October 27, 1858

Common Scorpio traits: discerning, ambitious, focused, can be vindictive

(AP Photo)

John Adams - #20

Sign: Scorpio
Date of Birth: October 30, 1735

Common Scorpio traits: discerning, ambitious, focused, can be vindictive

(Courtesy of the National Archives/Newsmakers)

James K. Polk - #19

Sign: Scorpio
Date of Birth: November 2, 1795

Common Scorpio traits: discerning, ambitious, focused, can be vindictive

(Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images)

Warren G. Harding - #18

Sign: Scorpio
Date of Birth: November 2, 1865

Common Scorpio traits: discerning, ambitious, focused, can be vindictive

(Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

James A. Garfield - #17

Sign: Scorpio
Date of Birth: November 19, 1831

Common Scorpio traits: discerning, ambitious, focused, can be vindictive

(AP Photo)

Franklin Pierce - #16

Sign: Sagittarius
Date of Birth: November 23, 1804

Common Sagittarius traits: intelligent, creative, adventurous, can be impatient

(Photo by Stock Montage/Stock Montage/Getty Images)

Zachary Taylor - #15

Sign: Sagittarius
Date of Birth: November 24, 1784

Common Sagittarius traits: intelligent, creative, adventurous, can be impatient

(Photo by National Archive/Newsmakers)

Martin Van Buren - #14

Sign: Sagittarius
Date of Birth: December 5, 1782

Common Sagittarius traits: intelligent, creative, adventurous, can be impatient

(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Woodrow Wilson - #13

Sign: Capricorn
Date of Birth: December 28, 1856

Common Capricorn traits: driven, decisive, intellectual, can be detached

(Photo by: Liverani/Andia/UIG via Getty Images)

Andrew Johnson - #12

Sign: Capricorn
Date of Birth: December 29, 1808

Common Capricorn traits: driven, decisive, intellectual, can be detached

(Library of Congress)

Millard Fillmore - #11

Sign: Capricorn
Date of Birth: January 7, 1800

Common Capricorn traits: driven, decisive, intellectual, can be detached

(Courtesy of the National Archives/Newsmakers)

Richard Nixon - #10

Sign: Capricorn
Date of Birth: January 9, 1913

Common Capricorn traits: driven, decisive, intellectual, can be detached

(AP Photo)

William McKinley - #9

Sign: Aquarius
Date of Birth: January 29, 1843

Common Aquarius traits: generous, friendly, inventive, can be aloof

(Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

Franklin D. Roosevelt - #8

Sign: Aquarius
Date of Birth: January 30, 1882

Common Aquarius traits: generous, friendly, inventive, can be aloof

(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

William Henry Harrison - #7

Sign: Aquarius
Date of Birth: February 9, 1773

Common Aquarius traits: generous, friendly, inventive, can be aloof

(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Ronald Reagan - #6

Sign: Aquarius
Date of Birth: February 11, 1911

Common Aquarius traits: generous, friendly, inventive, can be aloof

(Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)

Abraham Lincoln - #5

Sign: Aquarius
Date of Birth: February 12, 1809

Common Aquarius traits: generous, friendly, inventive, can be aloof

(Photo by National Archive/Newsmakers)

George Washington - #4

Sign: Pisces
Date of Birth: February 22, 1732

Common Pisces traits: dedicated, imaginative, empathetic, can be overly sensitive

(Photo by Roger Viollet Collection/Getty Images)

Andrew Jackson - #3

Sign: Pisces
Date of Birth: March 15, 1767

Common Pisces traits: dedicated, imaginative, empathetic, can be overly sensitive

(Photo by Library Of Congress/Getty Images)

James Madison - #2

Sign: Pisces
Date of Birth: March 16, 1751

Common Pisces traits: dedicated, imaginative, empathetic, can be overly sensitive

(Photo by National Archive/Newsmakers)

Grover Cleveland - #1

Sign: Pisces
Date of Birth: March 18, 1837

Common Pisces traits: dedicated, imaginative, empathetic, can be overly sensitive

(Courtesy of the National Archives/Newsmakers)

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