Playin’ the Name Game – People Judge You On Your Name
Do you like your name? Do you think it fits you well? Science says your name says more about you than you might think. (Maybe that's why so may celebrities and personalities have a stage names, I mean would you actually pick "Tormey" if you had options?)
Syracuse University researchers asked study participants to rate around 400 popular male and female names from a period of about 70 years. Back in the 1940's, popular boys names included James, Robert, John and William -- for the girls Mary, Linda, Barbara and Patricia topped the list. Today Liam, Noah, Logan and Mason are the top boys names, while it's Emma, Olivia, Isabella and Sophia for the girls.
In the study, participants were asked specific questions about personality traits they associated with certain names, or how old they assumed a person with a specific name would be.
Results show people do make generalizations about you based on the associations they have with your name. For example: Mia, Jesse, Kellie, Hailey, Hannah, or Melody were assumed to be kinder but less capable people. Does that describe you?
Those names that registered as highly competent but lower in warmth were mostly male names, like Lawrence, Norman, and Stuart. Does that sound like you cold-hearted Stuart? What about warm AND competent? Know anybody named John, Mark, Sarah, Stephen, Grace or Daniel? My wife is Sara without the "H" and she is both warm AND competent too.
Sorry gang, but the names seen as both cold and incompetent included Tracy, Cheyenne, Erin, Dominic, Larry, Crystal, Vicki, and Alvin. (my bother's name is Alvin--no comment, Kidding Al! My brother bucks this stereotype as he is a very warm guy who is also about the most SUPER competent person I know)
Brittney and Brad were consistently perceived as being younger than names like Betty or Bruce and that makes sense as some names, like the furniture, can seem a little dated.
In fact, the lead study author, Dr. Leonard Newman says, "If you give your child a fashionable name for the time, it might date them. The only way around it is to choose a name that never seems to go out of style, like David or Michael. (Daily Mail)
Ah David, now there is a warm, competent, timeless great name!
Back in 1964 Shirley Ellis had a song called the "Name Game", which played with everybody's name. Check it out.