Dictionary.com

Are you a Samuel or a Travis, a Katherine or an Amber? According to a recent study conducted on 89 undergraduate students, a person’s socioeconomic and educational standing may be in direct correlation with a person’s name. While researchers point out that a person’s essence, status, and general fatecannot possibly be defined based on the nature of a name alone, they do, however, suggest that expectations towards others tend to be closely associated with individual names. This provocative hypothesis inspired exploration of that most personal aspect of language, the proper nouns and names.

Onomastics is the study of the origin, history, and use of proper names. Derived from the Greek onomastikos meaning “of or belonging to naming,” onomastic scholars focus on the personal naming-systems used in different cultures and the pattern of those systems. Researchers point out that people of certain social and educational backgrounds prefer different names, surmising that a person’s given name can in fact determine their level of academic achievement. This is not an exact science, but according to the results of the referenced study, certain names tend to correlate with various levels of academic performance.

(Learn about anthroponymy, the study of personal names, and a baby named “Like” here.)

Participants of the study were asked to guess the success of students with various names on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most successful. The highest scoring names turned out to be Katherine, scoring a 7.42, and Samuel, scoring a 7.20. With a score of 5.74, Amber ranked lowest among female names while Travis ranked overall lowest with a score of 5.55. As John Waggoner, a researcher from Bloomberg University, points out: “Katherine goes to the private school, statistically; Lauren goes to a public university, and Briana goes to community college. Sierra and Dakota, they don’t go to college.”

Perhaps etymology is at play here. After all, the name Katherine is derived from Greek katheros meaning “pure” and the name is a direct reference to Saint Catherine of Alexandria and of course, Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia. In addition, the name has been among the 100 most popular names in United States since 1880.

Before you go re-thinking your name, the study also suggests that the results may be relative and that our destinies are not predetermined by our names. Proof in point is the omission of names such as Robert and Benjamin – two names that, not so long ago, were closely associated with high academic and socioeconomic status.

What do you think? Does this study resonate with your personal experience, or does it feel like a bunch of silliness?

Muscular Dystrophy Association Announces Funding for 40 New Research Grants

Wireless News August 27, 2011

Wireless News 08-27-2011 Muscular Dystrophy Association Announces Funding for 40 New Research Grants Type: News

The Muscular Dystrophy Association announced funding, totaling $13.7 million, for 40 new research initiatives targeting nearly two dozen progressive neuromuscular diseases. musculardystrophyassociationnow.com muscular dystrophy association

In a release, the group said that among these are 13 new initiatives targeting Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), nine new projects focused on ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease), as well as efforts on spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), and the link between diabetes and Friedreich’s ataxia (FA).

These new projects are in addition to hundreds of other MDA- funded scientific investigations being advanced worldwide to find effective treatments for neuromuscular diseases.

“Truly rapid progress is being made in the fight against muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases,” said R. Rodney Howell, M.D., Chairman of the MDA Board of Directors. “And MDA will not stop until these diseases are conquered.”

In Winston-Salem, NC, investigators are studying DMD-related heart disease by reprogramming skin cells to create heart cells in order to screen thousands of experimental compounds and drugs already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Another MDA-funded team in Philadelphia is exploring a new way to up- regulate utrophin, a muscle protein that may be able to stand in for the larger dystrophin protein that when absent causes DMD. Plus, an MDA-sponsored team in Victoria, Australia is working to prevent extensive bone loss caused by corticosteroids, the only available treatment shown to slow the progression of DMD.

For ALS, a Houston-based team with MDA funding is investigating whether a combination drug treatment (Licofelone + Riluzole) works better than the first FDA-approved drug for ALS, riluzole. Another group of MDA-sponsored investigators in Quebec City, Canada is looking for the earliest visible signs of ALS. Finally, a San Diego team supported by MDA is using next-generation gene sequencing technology to better understand what makes ALS-causing mutations in two genes (TDP-43 + FUS/TUS) so crucial to the ALS disease process.

With tens of millions of Americans affected by type 2 diabetes and 30 percent of FA patients developing diabetes, a new MDA-funded project in Philadelphia to determine the exact mechanisms by which diabetes occurs in FA also could shed valuable insights into the causes of insulin resistance seen in people with type 2 diabetes. this web site muscular dystrophy association

Other initiatives by MDA-funded investigators include the Minneapolis-based effort to identify inhibitors of the DUX4 gene implicated in FSHD, and to quickly test promising compounds in a transgenic mouse model for that disease; and, a Miami-based effort to find novel genes that cause more rare forms of SMA and to search for genetic modifiers of the disease-causing genes.

((Comments on this story may be sent to health@closeupmedia.com))

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431 Comments

  1. Johna603 -  July 13, 2014 - 7:37 am

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    Reply
  2. Fergus -  May 21, 2014 - 12:04 am

    Isn’t it much more likely that families of a certain socio-economic background have a higher tendency to name their children certain names? So rather than the name influencing the child’s socio-economic outcomes, isn’t it much more plausible that Katherine is just one of those names that appeal to bourgeoise parents who were always gonna give their child an equally bourgeoise upbringing, while, say a name like Sierra is just one of those names that appeals more to free-spirited parents who never went to college and won’t necessarily be pushing their children in that direction either?

    Reply
  3. Martha -  January 26, 2014 - 4:02 am

    …funny, this article was written two years ago, almost 3, on my birthday.

    Reply
  4. Martha -  January 26, 2014 - 3:59 am

    Hi everyone,

    What do you think about Martha Alicia, those two are my names, but most of the people calls me Martha, Alice in the USA and Marty or Mar here in Europe.

    Reply
  5. The lucy show -  July 30, 2013 - 8:04 am

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each
    time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove people from that service?
    Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Julie -  August 10, 2012 - 2:42 pm

    Having grown up in the UK and moved to American for work it’s interesting to see the different perceptions of names. People seem to refer to Amber a trashy / common name on this site, but at home it’s hugely popular (probably too much now) as a baby name and I would say is still seen as a classy, creative & rather cool name. Maybe not in 15 years who knows? Similarly Katherine has been defined here as an intelligent, classy name. It’s the same at home to some extent, but it’s also viewed as being so over-used as to be plain and undefinable now. There are so many Kate, Katie’s, Cathy’s and Katherine’s of all types and ages that it’s just ubiquitous.
    My name is Julie and I hated it for years throughout my teens and 20’s and insisted on being called Jules – in the UK Julie is definitely viewed as working class & middle-aged, despite all the fabulous famous Julies (none under 50 of course!). I’m 34 now and only in the past few years have I started to be more confident with ‘Julie’ – having finally realised how pretentious and uncomfortable it sounds introducing yourself as something that is clearly a nickname like Jules!
    When I was leaving school I read a similar article to this one where they ran a study sending out an identical CVs to various top employers using the name ‘Julie’ on one and the name ‘Julia’ on the second. From an ‘on-paper’ view only, the results were astoundingly in favour of the applicant called ‘Julia’, which did nothing to help me come to terms with being a Julie! (Or as Ali-G would say ‘me-Julie’!)
    When I came to America people seemed to think Julie was a ‘pretty name’, but I think it still holds some of the same connotations. I’ve always believed (or I’ve had to believe!) that you create your own image in life through being the person you want to be and that, once people meet you, you’re not defined by your name. (Hence why I always fought against the vanity of changing it to something like Juliet or Julia). However I have to admit I still sometimes think it would be easier if I didn’t have to ‘fight against’ my name.

    Reply
  7. Amber -  July 15, 2012 - 10:35 am

    My name’s Amber. I come from a low-income family and was the first in my family to go to a 4-year college.

    I am now working on a Masters Degree in each Engineering and Urban Planning with a certificate in Water Technology and have a Minor in Sociology.

    When I began applying for jobs I often refrained from including my first name on my resume because I didn’t want employers to have preconceptions before they met me. Also, being a woman in a predominately male field, I did not want to be immediately dismissed. Names have connotations. That’s why authors put so much consideration in character names. I’d be more apt to go to a Stewart to fix my computer than a Barney. Or a Lauren rather than a Natasha.
    But you are what you make yourself.
    And I include my name on my resume now.

    Reply
  8. Stella -  May 30, 2012 - 3:59 am

    Nowadays parents give complicated names that don’t mean anything.

    My personal favourite is Rachel. It sounds strong.

    Reply
  9. Tabitha -  April 9, 2012 - 10:20 pm

    By the way, what would you expect of a “Tabitha”, with the only television reference being a young witch on Bewitched? I’ve met one Tabitha in my entire life, and it was an old lady with a reservation for Macaroni Grill. (I thought they were calling me, but I put down Tabby). I’ve wanted my name to be Kate since I was in the fourth grade. It sounds cute, especially with the nickname Katie. If I ever have a baby girl, I’ll want to name her Kate, and if I ever have a baby boy, I’ll want to name him Daniel. (My middle name is Danielle, my father’s name is Daniel, and my great uncle’s name is Daniel) I wonder what people think of when they hear THAT…

    Reply
  10. Tabitha -  April 9, 2012 - 10:06 pm

    So far, I’ve found it’s more the CAUSE behind the name than the name itself that affects a child’s future. If an athletic couple were to name their baby “Dash”, they would name him that because it came across as athletic to them. Therefore, it would naturally come across as athletic to other people. Since the couple was athletic in the first place, they would most likely raise their child that way, correlating “Dash” with athleticism, and reinforcing it with the media (Dash from The Incredibles, etc). It’s all about perception. If parents look at a name a certain way, others will usually look at it the same way. If the parents believe the name would fit who they were planning to raise their child to be, others will too. Race and stereotype play a huge role in a baby’s heritage, which contributes to both name and lifestyle, relating the two.

    However, just because some people think Asians are short, smart, and bad drivers, it doesn’t mean they are. Just because some people think African Americans are strong, fast, and gang members, it doesn’t mean they are. Just because some people think Caucasians are stereotypical racists who think they’re better than everyone else, it doesn’t mean they are. Personally, I don’t think what somebody’s born with decides who they’re going to be, especially when they can’t change it- stereotype, race, or name.

    Reply
  11. On Names in the News « Art On Edge -  April 4, 2012 - 8:55 am

    [...] reported on the website Live Science, a marginally dubious though oft repeated June 2011 study by researcher John Waggoner of Bloomberg University of Pennsylvania [...]

    Reply
  12. phree -  March 21, 2012 - 3:53 pm

    i totally get this. For example, when I heard the name Katherine, I immediately thought of a Caucasian, brown-haired, bookish girl with glasses who liked owls [No, this isn't the name of a friend or anything] Samuel, same except for the owl thing. Amber-well, I hate to be deragoratory to anyone with that name, but I thought of a prostitute with blond hair and big breasts, and Travis, a slouching slacker. I don’t know though-that’s just my impression.

    Reply
  13. Marni -  March 13, 2012 - 12:10 am

    Can you please supply the study that you have referenced. You haven’t even named the researchers or institution that conducted it….

    Reply
  14. Katharine -  February 19, 2012 - 8:54 am

    huuuuuhhhhhh, im called katharine and in a stupid test thingy it said i was dumb!!!??

    Reply
  15. Katharine -  February 19, 2012 - 8:51 am

    woaaaaaahh yay!!! im called katharine!

    Reply
  16. Mikaela -  February 3, 2012 - 5:52 pm

    What’s in a name? Personally, I think that people get a first impression of someone from their name. This does not mean that they are necessarily what you first think of them. Also, if you know someone with the same first name, you may base your opinion of that person on the person you already know. All of this saying that one person is better than the next because of their name is stupid. Isn’t it what the person makes of them self and not what they are named?

    Reply
  17. Vindu -  January 27, 2012 - 3:04 pm

    I agree. Silly, no! I don’t think it is silly @ all.

    @ Jessica: 2 a certain extent name someone does matter. Being a baby who would not understand b/c of cognitive inability, so improper comprehension, while being growing up in hostile surroundings and such who would become shocked, traumatised and such; would become another reality.
    Today we are living in an age of, more so than not–Darwin’s SURVIVAL for the fittest or Orwell’s all are equal; some are more equal and such time.

    @Ward Kendal: Race have a perception on smartness, not just smartness….

    @ Anshuli: You are absolutely correct on … let’s say me/us belonging to this race class Colour & such of our superior ones that think they need to justify their own superiority eternally of theirs again own constracted devices…me/we are never, ever be equal to them, yet still to appease own vorecious appetite to test me/us playing their game according to their own construction. Nice article. Enjoyed it.

    Thanks

    English is not first language; forgive my mistakes

    Reply
  18. Kaetlyn -  January 25, 2012 - 11:21 pm

    my name is Kaetlyn which is a form of Catherine having the same meaning. I wonder what my name says about me and my background including the unique spelling my dad decided to give me.

    Reply
  19. V.P. -  January 25, 2012 - 10:47 pm

    This is quite funny, really. So many ‘Katherines’ and ‘LaFondas’. My name is Varvara. Quite a popular name in Russia, but I have never met one Varvara in AMerica – let alone the name I go by, Varia. People might think the people named ‘Amy’ go into the dumb blonde category – when in reality, they have never seen them. I personally hate my name, though all my friends tell me it’s pretty. People don’t judge you on your name, they perceive you from the way you act – your personality. For instance, how about the name Charlotte? It’s one of the most popular names. It does sound like Katherine – royal, pretty. Well, the Charlotte I know is backstabbing, loves to talk, and is popular. And if anyone minds who their doctor is named, they’re just ignorant.
    So it doesn’t matter how people perceive your name – it matters how you do.

    Reply
  20. Anna -  January 25, 2012 - 8:58 pm

    As a kid, you generally think of the Bobs as plumbers. Really. I thought about it and I realized that I thought that a Joe was a Mechanic and Sam a kid.

    Reply
  21. Romi V. -  January 25, 2012 - 2:39 pm

    I don’t really believe that a name can predict where you will end up in life, but names do in fact have connotations to them. I know a Adelbert (which sounds about as nerdy as you can get no effense to any one) and he is pretty relaxed and doesn’t give me an “Adelbert” feel

    Reply
  22. Kids and their poor grammer sicken me. -  January 25, 2012 - 12:57 pm

    Well, Martin, when I see your name, I think “what an illterate fool”, because you put a comma before the word Martin when it wasn’t needed.

    Reply
  23. N7xMartinx666 -  October 26, 2011 - 5:19 pm

    so, what do people think when they hear the name, Martin?

    Reply
  24. Dord -  October 13, 2011 - 12:24 pm

    As humans, I believe it is natural to use information gained through experiences in constructing ideas about a current situation. I would say this is healthy and even necessary in navigating everyday life. When hearing a certain name, we may or may not have previous experiences relating to that name. This could be from personal interaction, television, or written material. I think it is natural use this information to create an image or idea associated with that name. It is up to the individual to decide whether or not to use this information in determining their actions. I definitely believe every individual should be given a chance create their own image based on their own actions, but this is definitely not always the case.

    For those who had shown interest in what perception their name creates, here are my own personal images that come to mind when hearing your names…
    Madelyn- curious young girl, kind of tomboyish, sly smile with a twinkle in the eye.
    Heather- brunette, mostly proper, one of the popular kids, sees herself as high class but still respectful of those “lower” than herself.
    Samantha- Joyful fun attitude, beautiful in a down to earth way, blonde, very caring and considerate of other’s needs.
    Alexandria- Popular cheerleader, dark hair, mostly sweet but definitely looks down on her “inferiors”.
    Japneet- dark skin, hard working, shy beauty, glasses, brings a sense of comfort.
    Ella- Latin American, speaks her mind, respected.
    Naili- Indian, supermodel looks yet humble and kind, well off but puts a lot of effort into helping the needy.
    Chelsea- Tall skinny blonde, sharp features, kind of slutty and mean.
    Jordan- Very intelligent white male from wealthy family, skater, dabbling with drugs.
    April- Tall blonde, smart but kind of an air head, kind, mildly pretty.
    Byron- Older male, wealthy and high class with large estate, balding and overweight, always has a pipe.
    Savannah- Tall beautiful hippy type girl, soft spoken and shy, well liked and admired, long hair.
    Summer- Brunette, athletic, hard working, determined, middle class, not the most popular but respected by all.
    Esmeralda- Dark skin with long dark hair, regal, quiet, stunning beauty.
    Saara- Foreign(ethnicity keeps changing in my mind, Middle Eastern?), very quiet and shy, short and skinny, smart.
    Brandon- Stereotypical football player, Athletic, not too smart, loud and opinionated, tags along with the “more popular”.
    Nakisa- Indian, very smart (has an advanced degree), talkative and opinionated, sweet and fun.
    Lindsey- a ton of fun to be around, blonde and attractive, always smiling and kind, not afraid to get dirty, athletic and into the outdoors.
    Jenna- Slightly overweight, comely, smart, insecure, brunette, short.
    Ruth- very sweet disposition, well rounded, accepted by many social groups, somewhat quiet but will stand up for herself, eloquent

    Obviously I understand that these descriptions will be way off the majority of the time, but thats not the point. These are just my personal perceptions based on the information in my young middle class white male brain.

    Reply
  25. gary -  September 4, 2011 - 10:52 pm

    If you have a strong sense of self with a firm awareness of your own existence,
    names have little meaning. After all, names simply represent a way of separating one from another so as to avoid the “hay you” syndrome.
    How did we manage before language? Most of our existence as a species
    had no formal language. Really it’s just You & Me.

    Reply
  26. Unique Name -  August 9, 2011 - 11:57 pm

    I think we should look at what is important in this discussion. Research has been done on the correlation between superior academic success in highschool and college and economic success later in life. (read “The Millionare Mind”). Newsflash – there is a strong negative correlation between academic success and true economic success.

    Of the millionares studied, few got good grades in school. As many have mentioned in this post, it is the way you look at challenges – such as stereotypes – that determines who you become.

    So, yes, Katherine and Jessica may get good grades, but what did they do with their education?

    To add to my point, I copied and pasted the selection below: Fortune Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs 2010

    Theresa Alfaro Daytner, President & CEO, Daytner Construction Group, Mt. Airy, MD
    Leah Brown, President & CEO, A10 Solutions, Inc., Cary, NC
    Linda Chaput, Founder & CEO, Agile Mind, Grapevine, TX
    Wendi Goldsmith, CEO, Bioengineering Group, Salem, MA
    Desiree Gruber, CEO & Founder, Modelinia/Full Picture, New York, NY
    Alexa Hirschfeld, Co-founder, Paperless Post, New York, NY
    Dina Kaplan, Co-Founder, Blip.tv, New York, NY
    Susan Koger, Co-Founder, ModCloth, Pittsburgh, PA
    Mariam Naficy, Founder & CEO, Minted, San Francisco, CA
    Elizabeth Perelstein, President, School Choice International Inc., White Plains, NY

    Hmmm. Where is “Katherine” and “Jessica” on that list? Desiree, Alexa, Dina and Leah are doing just fine with their “dumb names.”

    Reply
  27. Lawrence -  August 9, 2011 - 11:28 am

    Thank you Justin Miller, who wrote: ” I imagine the expectations and socioeconomic status of parents who name their child “Katherine” or “Jessica” would demonstrate a statistically significant difference if compared with the expectations of parents who name their child “Sierra” or “Dakota.”

    I know a young woman of low self-esteem and low achievement in life who has named her two children “Destiny” and “Justify.” She clearly sees her daughter as fulfilling her own (the mother’s) destiny, and sees her son, “Justify” as justifying her existence. These children are having huge and inappropriate expectations placed upon; they are doomed.

    Reply
  28. Kman547 -  August 1, 2011 - 10:35 pm

    Before 1940, Adolf was considered a strong, proper German name.

    Reply
  29. Danielle -  August 1, 2011 - 8:32 am

    I think our reactions to nicknames and what other people call us is a good indicator of our personalities even more so than our names.

    When I was little my brother would always say my name like “Dan-yole” or “Daniel” and I hated it. I refused to even respond to him if he called me anything but Danielle. I tend to be a very sensitive person and react to things emotionally. This was very much the case when I was little, but now I don’t really care what people call me as long as it’s not something insulting. My name means “God is my judge” and yet ironically I care way too much what people think.

    @ LaFonda
    My original statement seems to apply to others too. I can tell by your reaction to other people who commented that you are very strong and independent & don’t let others get your spirits down :)

    Reply
  30. Ruth -  July 30, 2011 - 1:32 pm

    @Mayisha, I agree with you, let’s see some statistics.

    I like my name. It means ‘friend’ in Hebrew. I like to think that I’m a pretty good friend, so the name suits me. I’m not sure what kind of image the bearer of the name ‘Ruth’ would have in someone’s mind, but I’d sure be interested in knowing. ;D

    Reply
  31. Karen -  July 30, 2011 - 12:18 pm

    It is true, i had to do an essay about it, and society is often judged by names, it is merely our label and we are the product. Yet it is highly stereotypical, but we are only human and like to know everything and give it a name since we are afraid of mystery.

    Reply
  32. Mayisha -  July 29, 2011 - 2:07 am

    I think your name is irrelevant. Your parents named you. How they named you doesn’t reflect who you are, it reflects what your parents hope you’ll be. People might judge you, but what they think doesn’t matter because, well, you didn’t choose your name, now did you?

    My name means ‘intelligent’ or ‘sunlight’, I’ve been told. I’m a very morbid person, but I am one of the top students. (Of course, I am southeast Asian, so you know, parental pressure) When people hear Mayisha, honestly, they don’t know what to think, and as justathought said, that’s a nice surprise when they see me.

    Going back to LaFonda and Shaquisha, we do associate them with African Americans, and when we think that, we make a stereotype: low income, bad neighborhoods, ect. I’m sure there are plenty of doctors, lawyers, and successful people with these names, but people will always jump to conclusions. Because, well, what do we do best? Make judgements. So, I do only slightly agree with this.

    For Katherine, I don’t think smart student, I think popular, stuck up, snot face. For Samuel, I think pothead. And I’m from New York, so where you’re from can also change how you think of someone based on their name.

    And, wait just a minute, no link to the study? I’d like to see some actual figures here.

    Reply
  33. Teivous -  July 27, 2011 - 10:23 pm

    My names Tyson, I think the name Auther( boy) and Sarah(girl)
    are pretty nice.

    Reply
  34. Darcy -  July 27, 2011 - 6:21 pm

    I have Always been teased for my name because it is a unsex name, therefore lowering my self confidence and causing my grades to drop. i now have a school-based apprenticeship, go to karate and usaully get “A’s”. my point is your name will affect your social status unless you make it change.

    Reply
  35. Just a thought -  July 27, 2011 - 2:24 am

    I’m just saying I wouldn’t take anyone with a name like LaFonda Shaquisha, ect, seriously (regardless of your doctorate and the school they went to). It’s not something you hear from Caucasians or any other race except for the African American community. And people, for the most part, associate them with being low income, and on welfare. Names do influence the way people view a person, which may cause the person to treat them a different way than the rest, which would cause the other person to want to be in the expectations of their employer.

    Reply
    • amariiq -  July 15, 2014 - 9:20 am

      I personally feel like what you are saying is a bunch of bullshit. If someone with a Doctorate/PhD with the name of LaFonda or some other “low income-associated name”–as you call it– worked somewhere such as an emergency room, was a heart surgeon or whatever the case, I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to be worried about if I can get Susan the nurse to help me if I am dying. Fuck Susan the nurse, because she doesn’t have the degree that LaFonda or Shaquita or Delaquan or whatever, to save my life.
      With that being said, when you are in need of help, and Rasberry is the only surgeon around to help your ass, just remember to ask for Robert the intern and just pray that he knows what he is doing to save your damn life !!!!

      Reply
  36. Melissa -  July 22, 2011 - 7:40 am

    (If anyone wants to read more on this subject the book Freakanomics also has a chapter on this topic. But the movie was also good.)

    Reply
  37. justathought -  July 21, 2011 - 10:22 pm

    Names most certainly do change a person’s opinion about the person in one way or another. For example, if I know a David that is dumb as bricks, perhaps my view of anyone named David is subjective to that single experience. I know people that teach in schools who swear they will never name their children certain things because of the way they have seen kids, with the same name, act in class.

    In the matter of having your child named “Shaniqua” or “Lafonda” as Katharine put it, that is all about the parents. Parents want their children to be original and different. More or less to march to the beat of their own drum. Ridiculous names pop up everywhere because parents feel like keeping to dull names only makes a dull child. For example, naming your child Unique is completely preposterous because when that Unique meets another Unique, who is truly the Unique? Their parents obviously thought that their child was “existing as the only one or as a sole example” right? Of course not, they just expect their child to live up to the name. By creating a “one of a kind” name, parents expect some sort of fate to come from the name.

    Now, my name isn’t something that you would expect. In my town it is associated as a “colored name”. I know that sounds fairly awful but, I’m not the one who thought of it. I’ve been told I couldn’t possibly named what I am because I’m not black. I’ve had to pull out ID to prove that I am who I say I am and in a way its flattering. They expect someone completely different and when approached by a pleasant surprise, they slightly over react and deny that you are who you are.

    So, I guess I’m saying that a name can influence more than people think. The way you associate people with the name can make or break your thoughts on the name. The way parents name their children is a failed attempt at trying to create a fate for their child. The way people expect a name to describe a person is an interesting human behavior.

    Reply
  38. Bob -  July 20, 2011 - 5:42 pm

    Adding to that, how does ethnicity have anything to do with intelligence levels? It is a clear fact that anyone who wishes to can learn can. Your DNA, perhaps, may make it easier or harder for you to absorb material, but with willingness to learn you can overtake anyone. No one is born with Calculus BC and AP Statistics in their head, even if they are white (ahem). It all depends on how much value you put on learning. Maybe some races put more emphasis on learning.

    Here’s an example that should convince dissenters. I myself am simply a kid, although I go to Summa North, a school in which we do math, science and reading that appears regularly in advanced high school courses. There are not much racial differences there; in fact, we have people from almost all races. Anyone has the capability to perform, and this article may be insulting.

    Reply
  39. Bob -  July 20, 2011 - 5:34 pm

    This is pretty silly. The only way name would have an affect on personality is your personal feelings about that name. Your ability to learn is dependent on your willingness to learn, not what you’re named. Anyone with any name can go to college if they work hard enough.

    Reply
  40. Dana -  July 19, 2011 - 8:01 am

    Anybody who’s read Freakonomics would not be surprised by this study finding. The NAME correlates with intelligence and academic outcomes because different socio-economic groups favor different names. Traditional, upper socio-economic families tend to put a lot of emphasis on education and professional success. They also tend to use traditional names like Katherine, Rebecca, Daniel, Jonathon, etc. No insult to LaFonda, but families that invent new names, or new spellings for traditional names, statistically, don’t have the same family traditions and history, including academic and professional success. It’s like children who grow up in households with lots of books achieving academic success: it’s not the books that cause the success. It’s the family emphasis on reading that usually results in academic achievement. A third variable (socio-economics of the parents) causes the non-traditional names AND the differential in intelligence and academic success.

    Reply
  41. Melissa -  July 18, 2011 - 12:36 am

    @Kelly
    I looked up my name on Urban Dictionary and was quite pleased. One entry described me to a “T”. It seems many people have positive memories associated with my name.

    Reply
  42. John -  July 17, 2011 - 1:57 pm

    katherine is really a high class name. elizabeth is another high class name. veronica is a low middle class name. john is a low middle class name. abraham is a middle class name. william is a high class name. charles is a high class name. send me your name, i’ll tell you where your name is.

    Reply
  43. Queen Sardonic -  July 11, 2011 - 4:02 pm

    @Dreama:
    I hope you didn’t misunderstand me; the reason I brought the name Travis into my argument was because it was the lowest ranking name out of the survey, and the reason for that may have been because people thought of it as a cowboy’s name. I, personally, don’t judge people by their names because I find it a bit immature. I’m sorry if I offended you in any way.

    Reply
  44. sara -  July 10, 2011 - 1:00 pm

    My response to Ward Kendall is that, in addition to his gross misunderstanding of race, he seems more a proponent of the debunked Bell Curve, certainly not Human Genome Project. There is no such thing as race. Ethnicity is a collection of arbitrary phenotypes (eye color, shape of nose, skull structure, amount of melanin produced) reflective of the variation or isolation of the gene pool. i.e. Asians will tend to have more similar appearances because of relative isolation and lack of variety, as opposed to high-variety “mutt” populations, such as the United States. For the record, variety is a good thing because extreme lack of variety leads to an increase in recessive disorders (common among highly isolated populations, such as Amish; nonhuman examples would be the disorders associated with pure breeds of dog) [also, his name links to an Amazon endorsement for his book. creepy, because his book sounds like a call to arms for neoNazis.]

    Reply
  45. sara -  July 10, 2011 - 12:32 pm

    in response to Tiffany: very well put! could not have been better stated! My thoughts on naming, having an all too common name, would be to name a kid with something unique, so they don’t feel like John #5 or every time someone calls “Sara”, it’s likely not for you. On the other hand, I met a guy once who loathed his all too unique name. So, grass is always greener? last thoughts: “Boy Named Sue” anyone?

    Reply
  46. Ashley -  July 7, 2011 - 2:18 pm

    So many people don’t know the context of the Romeo and Juliet quote they quote here!

    Juliet:
    What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet;
    So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
    Retain that dear perfection which he owes
    Without that title.

    Both Romeo and Juliet in this scene mull over the fact that it is only their NAMES that bar their love from being accepted: He is a Montague, she a Capulet. No, they’re not first names, but they cause the families to see only their preconceptions of the other when they hear either name spoken.

    This research is showing that people’s perceptions of others is influenced by the names of each individual they come across. Quoting “…a rose,/By any other name would smell as sweet” does not take into account the fact that Romeo and Juliet wish they had different names so that they could be together. Not long after the quote above, Juliet asks Romeo if he is Romeo Montague. Because he is so in love with her, and willing to forsake his name for her, he replies, “Neither, fair saint, if either thee dislike.”

    Something to think about.

    Reply
  47. Taylor -  July 6, 2011 - 8:04 am

    @ Kathryne: you come off a tad bit arrogant, unintentionally I’m sure, but you do have one of the most correct comments I have read. You seem exceptionally bright which is more of a combination between genetics and environment than what your parents named you.

    Reply
  48. Hester -  July 5, 2011 - 1:01 pm

    I wanted a name for my daughter that was both very feminine and very strong. I chose the name Kathryn. My daughter IS smart and does well in some of her classes, not so well in other classes. She’ll probably go to a community college. I’ll be very proud of her.

    Reply
  49. Richard VSD -  July 4, 2011 - 11:49 pm

    My name is Richard von Stehrenhauser-Digby. My name is Richard von Stehrenhauser-Digby. My name is Richard von Stehrenhauser-Digby. My name is Richard von Stehrenhauser-Digby. My name is Richard von Stehrenhauser-Digby. My name is Richard von Stehrenhauser-Digby. My name is Richard von Stehrenhauser-Digby. My name is Richard von Stehrenhauser-Digby. My name is Richard von Stehrenhauser-Digby. My name is Richard von Stehrenhauser-Digby. I am a real dumbass. My name is Richard von Stehrenhauser-Digby. My name is Richard von Stehrenhauser-Digby. My name is Richard von Stehrenhauser-Digby. Just like all of you. My name is Richard von Stehrenhauser-Digby. My name is Richard von Stehrenhauser-Digby.

    Reply
  50. Liz -  July 4, 2011 - 3:11 pm

    If only people would stop leaving posts pretending they are named Katherine or LaFonda and then saying something about their prodigious academic achievement. And even worse, some of the people who responded to their comments actually believed them. Honestly, don’t the people reading these posts realize that anyone can post absolutely anything given that they have an email address to put down? Anyway, even if all the LaFondas and Katherines were telling the truth, what exactly would they prove? The study mentioned in the article was about the perceived, not the actual, success of individuals with certain names. For example, the study is not saying that all people named Amber are doomed to failure, so saying that your name is Amber and that you are a doctor is not contradicting it. If your name is Amber and you are a doctor then congratulations, but I hardly see how that is relevant to this discussion.

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  51. canuck -  July 1, 2011 - 12:38 pm

    *an

    Now I have to check out Freakanomics

    Reply
  52. canuck -  July 1, 2011 - 12:36 pm

    Much ado about nothing.
    Plausible hypothesis, I suppose, but mostly because it panders to inherent fears and simmering racial stereotypes. What it isn’t – is empirically sound. Eighty-nine people is a useless data set.

    Signed,
    A 50-year-old Canadian with an dull name, a high-school diploma and 3 years of undergraduate drinking.
    Or…Felicity/Jeniqua with a advanced degree from Oxford/Harvard. You choose.

    Reply
  53. RAAZ -  July 1, 2011 - 11:32 am

    Darwin Christ Almighty you are nice!!!!!!!!!!!LoL

    idiot too at the same time!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  54. Darwin Christ Almighty! -  July 1, 2011 - 9:41 am

    My PERCEPTION is that about half of you suffere from reading comprehension issues.

    My preconception is that some of your brains will cry when you read this.

    The fact is, idiots come in all different names, colors, and educational backgrounds, but we all have one thing in common: we are all part of the HUMAN race.

    Suck it up.

    Reply
  55. RAAZ -  July 1, 2011 - 8:49 am

    helloooooooooooo! is someone there……………

    Reply
  56. RAAZ -  July 1, 2011 - 8:46 am

    hi,
    my name is bhootni ke. what does it reflects. can someone tell me?

    Reply
  57. Prof. Santosh Nair -  June 30, 2011 - 10:19 pm

    John Locke was the one who in the 1600s brought out this fact that a child when born does not hold any perception at the time of birth or within a few years of its birth. A whole lot of such perception begins to build-up in the mind of a tiny individual and becomes concretised after one begins to live within certain surroundings: good or bad.
    Mark Twain said that: A company can make a man or mar a man!

    Names that we choose for our children will never be from this stand-point: that he/she should live his/her entire life as a loser! No parents desire that! However there are extraneous conditions that are beyond the control of parents: their (parents) level of education; their understanding of their-own life and indeed, their childrens’ lives too; the surrounding or the society that they live in and many more such factors determine what, how and why an individual lives a certain life that that individual leads.

    However, one cannot ignore genetical factors too! After having read Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Outliers’ I have turned into a firm believer of one thing: everything about us has lot to do with where we came from; who were our parents; where do we live; and so many more things!

    Name is perhaps, a mere speck in the larger scheme of things of our life!

    Prof. Santosh Nair
    KBSCMR, Pune, India

    Reply
  58. Keven -  June 30, 2011 - 3:00 pm

    with my name im alittle surprised im the smartest in my class cause it’s a oddball name.(Pronouned Kevin)

    Reply
  59. Arvett -  June 30, 2011 - 11:03 am

    I try not to use semicolons; however, sometimes it is hard to avoid them.

    Reply
  60. Debbie Evran -  June 30, 2011 - 6:51 am

    My name is Deborah which means “bee” in Hebrew.
    ( Which matches my ‘busy bee’ character to a tee. )

    My husbands name is Gurdal which is Turkish and in English means Strong branch.
    ( Which matches his strong grounded character )

    And all I know is…
    Every bee needs a strong branch to build and support her nest. ;-)

    Reply
    • amariiq -  July 15, 2014 - 9:24 am

      You’re awesome :)

      Reply
  61. noopy -  June 30, 2011 - 12:38 am

    Hey, This was published years ago in the Freakonomics!

    Reply
  62. Jenna -  June 29, 2011 - 2:07 pm

    What does my name say?

    Reply
  63. Fred -  June 29, 2011 - 11:39 am

    People with low socioeconomic status are more likely to name their kids stripper/rapper names. Is it any wonder that they are attaching a stigma to their children?

    We can argue causation, but why?

    The cruel part is that they often are trying to showcase their own “smarts” and cleverness.

    To everyone who bashed this study or The Bell Curve, go to a real school and pay attention.

    Reply
  64. Jamey -  June 29, 2011 - 4:13 am

    @Ward Kendall
    You’re understanding of the human genome project is deeply skewed and is dangerously misrepresented. The Voltaire quote was probably an attempt to lend credibility to your statement. Unfortunately, that quote can be bandied by anyone toting a blind assertion, a cruel and ridiculous one at that. Please read Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. It’s not comprehensive, but excellent in it’s explanatory power regarding the the development of peoples. I doubt you will, but perhaps someone reading your comments will consider it.

    Reply
  65. Lindsey -  June 28, 2011 - 8:29 pm

    how does the name Lindsey hold up against the rest of the names??

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  66. Nathan Simpson -  June 28, 2011 - 8:03 pm

    Travis is the CEO of Dunkin Donuts. If you ask me that is pretty dang successful.

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  67. DiAnna -  June 28, 2011 - 11:10 am

    @Diana . . . I know exactly what you mean. I have spent my whole life correcting people about my name. It annoys the crap out of me. I tell them it’s DiAnna, not Diane. Which is why I purposely capitalize the A in my name.

    Other than that I truly love my name. I love the way it sounds. It makes me feel regal and it fits my “prissy” and “classy” personality. lol. My name means Goddess. That’s how I feel . . . like a Goddess.

    Most my friends and cohorts call me “Lady Di”.

    I work in public/community relations and I am also a realestate invester.

    Reply
  68. Carl -  June 28, 2011 - 9:27 am

    I’ve run across a few names that might have caused kids problems: Tina Toobs, the Gross sisters, Timmy Temple. It’s just ammo for kids who like to tease others.

    Reply
  69. Raina bo baina -  June 28, 2011 - 6:11 am

    This is a “Hot Word”! These are the most comments I have ever seen on Dictionary.com, so apparently this study ignites conversation and may have relevance in our eclectic world.

    Stereotyping is repulsive, by any means, but obviously we all do; according to this study.

    My name is LaRaina—meaning The Queen—which would explain my twisted views!

    Reply
  70. Julia -  June 28, 2011 - 12:43 am

    Its to do with human nature, we want to put labels on things, so when people says their name we immediately assume what their personality is. We’ve all done it, especially Katharine up the top.

    Reply
  71. Liza -  June 28, 2011 - 12:27 am

    I go to a private school and most people are called Olivia! There are hardly any Katherines. But, I guess its about the generations and what the popular names are at the time.

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  72. E -  June 28, 2011 - 12:22 am

    Who cares what you’re name is! It’s up to you to determine whether you’ll go to college. Just because poorer people may name their children ‘Sierra or Dakota’ doesn’t mean that that name makes you stupid. You can’t judge by name, I’m sure Micheal Jackson’s son Blanket is nice even if he has a ridiculous name.

    Reply
  73. Katherine -  June 27, 2011 - 11:56 pm

    My name is Katherine- and surprisingly i too go to a public school, and generally fairly high grades! Plus, I’m half Greek too ! :)

    Reply
  74. Keyla -  June 27, 2011 - 11:16 pm

    So if someone names their child “Laquarius”, who’s to say he won’t be the next Bill Gates? Who’s to say he won’t be successful?

    Success is not a “thing”. It is not a quantity.

    Success, in my eyes, is not just “being a doctor”. It’s doing what makes you happy. Personally, I don’t think dropping out of college and partying all night is “successful”. I’d rather be independent with a nice job (that I like) and an good income. My goal is to help people. To make my family proud. That’s my definition of success. Perhaps I want to be a doctor. Again, that’s success to ME. But me being named “Keyla” has nothing to do with that. I am not “destined” to be or do something. And if people judge me for my name, who cares? Don’t get offended. No one should. And if you do get offended, do something about it. Prove those people wrong.

    Even if your parents were drunk when they named you, or you’ve had a horrible story and was named something like “Shoe” or “Can” or even “Pajamas”, embrace your name. Wear it like it’s Prada, and never stop being you. Be proud to introduce yourself as “LaFonda”, “Travis”, “John,” “Laquarius,” “Pajamas”, or “Katherine”, because the world should remember you not by your name, but by your handshake.

    -Keyla

    Reply
  75. (-_-) -  June 27, 2011 - 9:17 pm

    @anita
    i’m sorry Anita, but i believe you should read the article one more time..

    Reply
  76. Sebastian -  June 27, 2011 - 8:59 pm

    Come to think of it…Barack Obama is a pretty Arabic/African sounding name…OBAMA, heh…but he managed to get (what some people might consider to be) the most important job in the world…

    Maybe you need a Christian/European name to get an office job or some other mundane role, but I don’t really think your name can hinder you from being what you really aspire to be, granted that you work hard and/or are an extraordinary person…

    Yeah, the study mentioned in the article is by no means reliable, but it’s just there for people to skim while at work or school and inadvertently decline into a debate on race and money.

    Reply
  77. Corinna -  June 27, 2011 - 8:16 pm

    I had to laugh not only at the idea that a person’s fate can be predetermined by his name, but also that so many commenters believe they have a strong handle on which names are “tacky” and which ones are “strong,” “graceful,” pretty or intelligent sounding. Name preferences are SUBJECTIVE, people. What you think sounds elegant, I might snicker at. What you think sounds graceful, I might roll my eyes at. It’s nothing but a matter of personal preference, and while my name likes and dislikes may be different from that of my neighbor’s, they are in no way superior. For instance, no offense meant to any Katherines, but for me that name reeks of rigidity and an “old-maid” air. Does that mean Katherines are rigid old maids? Of course not. It just means that for ME, the name conjures up that image, even though I know Katherines who are lovely and lively people. They just happen to have a name I don’t care for.

    It’s nothing but a matter of personal preference, and while one boss might really dislike your name enough to pass you over for raises, another might like it enough to give you that promotion. If their reasons are that shallow, a name is the least of your worries.

    Reply
  78. Kathryn -  June 27, 2011 - 7:25 pm

    You folks should really watch the documentary “Freakonomics.” One of the segments is about this very thing….

    Reply
  79. Yeon-Na -  June 27, 2011 - 7:07 pm

    My name is Yeon-Na. Now tell me what that means.

    Reply
  80. Meesha -  June 27, 2011 - 6:27 pm

    I have a friend names Sammuel but he has low grades on some subjects..
    p.s. What do you think of my name? :)
    I like what anita said about being unique :)

    Reply
  81. Danica -  June 27, 2011 - 6:24 pm

    I agree what Anita says about we are having names to be unique, to show what people could call us. To Meesha, For me, I like your name,simple and sounds like you are sweet :).

    Reply
  82. Mari -  June 27, 2011 - 6:21 pm

    To an extent, there are reasons for having stereotypes (some more or less valid) ; the trouble with stereotypes is when they cease to be useful – and to whom: the party who has been shunned or misconstrued, and also the party who has shunned or misconstrued.

    It’s important to give serious consideration to observations and information that contradict our assertions.

    Much is in a name, but much is in what you make of a name. Perhaps you may as well discuss the meaning of human existence or of language.
    The problem of a name is potentially very abstract and extensive in breadth.

    Reply
  83. Jiquanda Nelson -  June 27, 2011 - 6:20 pm

    I totally agree and from personal experience. My name is Jiquanda, which in most cases, you can assume that I am a black woman. I had a relative that worked as a staffing specialist for a temp agency and they saw this first hands. Resumes were not picked by credentials alone. If 5 resumes were submitted the person with the most “proper” or “common” name was picked. I know that there is always someone out there with more background or credentials with you. However, there have been several incidents where my resume would be submitted to a client, amongst others, and mine would be overlooked just because of my name. And it would be totally evident that my background AND credentials were higher than my competitors. I’ve done really well in my life, however, I’ve definitely had obstacles along the way, all because of my name.

    Reply
  84. Krista -  June 27, 2011 - 6:13 pm

    I agree with what people say about people naming their kids based on what has made an impression to them. Obviously having a certain name doesn’t destine someone to a certain life–but it could be a reflection of your parent’s lives, because what we like is a reflection of what we’ve experienced/ If you grow up in a community where Katherines have been successful, you’ll probably feel positively towards that name. A friend of mine’s dad is an obgyn who works in a reduced price clinic in an impoverished black neighborhood. He told her that a lot of the mothers gave their kids such unique names because it was one of the few things they had to give–that was their own…Being born into rough surroundings can make it tough to escape into a better life–I think sometimes we associate certain “blacker” sounding names with low class/violence–but it’s not fair, nor does the situation have anything to do with race. It has to do with circumstance, and being stuck in circumstance.

    I think it’s natural to attribute certain ideas to certain names based on what we’ve experienced–we just have to be open to knowing we could be wrong.

    Reply
  85. Amber -  June 27, 2011 - 5:51 pm

    Cetain names tend to be popular among certain socio-economic groups. Those with more money tend to choose names like Katherine, hence they more frequently attend private schools. People then overtly or subliminally tend to associate the name with that type of outcome. Another socio-economic group might more often to choose the name Amber. This is an obvious cause and effect error.

    Reply
  86. The brain chiller -  June 27, 2011 - 5:49 pm

    Katherine on June 26, 2011 at 10:54 am

    I’m glad that you’ve accomplished so much in your life. Yet, there is something that you may not know know or unable to find it in your dictionary, and that is the word “humble.” So far you have been boosting how great you are with your accomplishments, and I have not seen any sense of humbleness in your words. Sure, you may be proud, but those people who are often proud of themselves will soon be replaced by others who are better than they are. Not so great after all, aren’t you?

    Reply
  87. Travis -  June 27, 2011 - 5:40 pm

    Alright, my name is Travis and I don’t believe there is any connection between a person’s name and a person’s social status or academic ability. I pride myself on beibng a person who is different, somebody who often strives for less, but accidentally achieves more than other people. I aim to be a musician one day, because I love my music, not because I want the women or the drugs. I have as many values and morals as the next “Katherine” and would probably beat her on an IQ test.

    Reply
  88. rodent -  June 27, 2011 - 5:33 pm

    No link to the study? Hello?

    Reply
  89. Anita -  June 27, 2011 - 5:13 pm

    So is the author of this article suggesting that if all the people in this world take or change their first names to either Katherine or Sammuel, they will all be smart, talented, highly accomplished in schools and in whatever they do? I, for one, certainly do not think so. Quit sterotyping, people. We should all love our names because they make us unique. We are who we are, and we do not need to impress others by changing our names. How dull a world will be if people all call themselves Katherine and Sammuel? Urgh! (No offense to the Katherines and Sammuels who are reading this post.)

    Reply
  90. Steven Duerringer -  June 27, 2011 - 4:33 pm

    I agree with Dave, people have often told me that when pronounced correctly, my full name immediately sounds very formal and professional (middle name is Paul, Catholic Saint). I also am aware that I form expectations about people whose names I hear before I meet them in person. The name Alexis (particularly when shortened to Lexi) sends immediate signals to me about this person’s personality before I even meet them, and most of the time they are pretty accurate. No one should be offended by the article, I think that rather than implying that your name is harming you directly by actually preventing you from being more intelligent or skilled, it is simply saying that other people’s perceptions of your intelligence or skills may either enhance or diminish your odds of success as you age. I think to deny this would be to ignore reality and our understanding of internal prejudices.

    Reply
  91. Pat Henry -  June 27, 2011 - 4:27 pm

    With the name “Pat” you cannot even determine gender. This is tangential to the topic; except that cultural expectations … change with each subgroup/culture.

    Hebrews often named their children with prophetic destiny in mind. This is one reason you will find Biblical names that “fit” the very thing for which a person of faith became noted.

    A great thing about a free society like America is that one can more easily overcome obstacles like prejudices about certain names by making your own reputation and achievement. Perhaps in any society, but America has been noted for this, because it de-linked Church and State.

    We named out children according to prophetic direction we received in answer to prayer, with the hope that the child’s name, and our investing it with such meaning, would help guide them to a positive, significant, society-building destiny.

    One has to think of “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash, in which a dad who knew he’d never be around gave his son a difficult name just so he’d have to work to overcome it, and thereby become stronger. Funny, like this article and its comments.

    Reply
  92. Samantha -  June 27, 2011 - 4:24 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed the article. Preconceptions are the main focus of the article. It does not attack those with spacific names or ethnics. The article was fun.

    The whole deal with names, though interesting, is meaningless. Names are an outward, dare I say image, of what the parent decided. It has nothing to do with ones status or future achievement.

    My mom called me Samantha as opposed to Cassandra, her original choice. In the end she decided on Samantha simply because Sammi sounded nicer to her than Cassy. Sounded more independent, this is because the letter S is heavier than the letter C.

    The point is to make the name that you are given, your own. Make it unique to you regardless of peoples preconceptions.

    I wish you all the best of luck with this.

    (I live on a farm in a small dominantly afrikaans town in the western cape, south africa, I have made my name my own. I’m proud to be Samantha)

    Reply
  93. Katy (Katherine) -  June 27, 2011 - 4:04 pm

    my name is katherine but im not tht smart of a person i my friends r super smart though and none of them r named katherine. and a lot of other katherines i no r always stuck up and think they r much better thn anyone else and r just really annoying so this study doesnt really prove much bcause its all about the person and not the name

    Reply
  94. Michaelangelo -  June 27, 2011 - 3:51 pm

    This topic is a website just waiting to be born!! I guess that’s just my creative side at work…hey, I wonder what that says about the author’s thesis?

    Reply
  95. Eric -  June 27, 2011 - 3:47 pm

    Interesting article. It does hold some truth; as forementioned, the “perception” may lead to how we think and treat others.

    My parents decided to name me ‘Eric’ after a doctor, and believed it to sound professional. I’d always thought it was so because it was a popular baby name back then…

    Reply
  96. Nitya -  June 27, 2011 - 3:24 pm

    For all those correspondants who, rather sanctimoniously, state that one shouldn’t judge a person by their name, the sad reality is that people DO make a subconscious evaluation based on the name…yes, even those advising others not to do so!

    Reply
  97. Katherine -  June 27, 2011 - 3:09 pm

    I think names do leave an impression on people. I did go to a private school…..at a young age. Not through high school though. I also went to a community college and then to a University and into grad school. I have gone by the nick name Kat for a near decade until recently when I went back to being called Katherine. “Kat” has a more playful feeling to it. But I do notice a difference in the reactions of people when I introduce myself as “Katherine” compared to “Kat.”

    What I interested in is the odd names that children are given today like Apple, Desta, Forest, Xanthi, Indigo etc. compared to the classic names like Stephanie, Jessica, Elizabeth, Katherine. For women I wonder if the social impact is more positive to have a more abstract name than for men.

    If you meet a guy named Gunther, Haden, Hunter, or Zinth (I have met each of these names) and compare that dynamic with a John, Matthew, James, Christopher, Micheal, Stephen, etc, do the guys have a more difficult time making a name for themselves compared to the Women?

    Overall, I think there are “classy-tied to history” names that carry a certain weight just like there are names that carry not so great social weight. I think this is driven by the population and culture though…not by a whatever-ologist.

    Think about it. When a girl tells her friends shes dating someone new, they ask. “What’s his name?” When she says “Billy” the friends might have a reaction that would differ had she said “William”. I am not sure if guys react to their friends in the same manner. But when my boyfriend introduces me as “Kat” I DO get a more playful response compared to “Katherine.” To each her/his own.

    Reply
  98. Katie -  June 27, 2011 - 3:00 pm

    I am a Kathleen, not a Katherine. Many people believe that those names are the same, but they are not. I choose to go by Katie because it is exceedingly interesting and, at times, amusing to hear what other people think my actual full name. All of that is irrelevent though because I am not my name. I understand that names can be used to make assumptions; in fact, I use names to make assumptions about people all of the time.

    The whole purpose of this article was to state findings. Granted these findings are skewed by the narrow range of people polled; however, regardless of that, the article is not meant to be blown out of proportion. The debate the article has sparked has gone everywhere even to “race.” I must agree with those who previously posted that we are all of one race, the human race. Judging intelligence based off of a wide range of factors is wrong, but real. This article was fascinating to read, and, although narrow-minded, probably rather truthful. This article is just something to make us think about the way names might conjure up thoughts in our heads.

    Reply
  99. Naomi -  June 27, 2011 - 2:50 pm

    It’s all about association. You see a name (say Ashley), associate with a certain group of people and base your judgement of all Ashleys based on your perception of that group. If people perceive you in a negative way, that will damage your opportunities in life. An just out of interest, here in the UK, Ashley is seen as a much more working class name than it seems to be in the US.

    Reply
  100. queleanorirk -  June 27, 2011 - 2:46 pm

    I have a friend, who is a person of color, who used to work in human resources at a big NY hotel. To my shock and horror, she told me that she and her superior (also a person of color) used to discard, unread, resumes with names that they didn’t like (like Lafonda, Shaniqua. . .) They wouldn’t even call these people for an interview because they were certain their names meant they would have bad attitudes.

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  101. Dominique -  June 27, 2011 - 2:42 pm

    “My name is Katharine and I went to a private school. I’m pretty studious and always make good grades. My mom chose the name because it sounded strong and regal. I wonder how many doctors and lawyers are named “Shaniqua” or “Lafonda.” ”

    Hmmm. Very good question, Katharine. Since the last sentence in your statement holds absolutely no trace of stereotyping and prejudice, I would strongly suggest you use your ‘studious’ skill to research exactly how many lawyers and doctors are named “Lafonda” or “Shaniqua”. That way, you will be exact in your estimation, and no one will think you hold any prejudice views.

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  102. Jack B. -  June 27, 2011 - 2:41 pm

    I can understand how your name could affect the way other people look at you and how you might think of yourself, but I don’t think it would have such a drastic impact on your future as this article says. Plus, names go in and out of fashion, so if I name my son Merriwether (as in Merriwether Lewis), does that mean that he would be famous or that he would get a lot of crap in school?

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  103. Fiona -  June 27, 2011 - 2:30 pm

    I knew two girls. One named La-a (pronounced Ladasha), and one named Friedchickeneequa ( I kid you not. Her mother ate mostly fried chicken while she was pregnant with her.) I was a kid so I just thought they sounded funny and I made no correlation with success or lack there of. I remember hearing the teachers talk about how surprised they were that they were average/above average. Now, they made that jump. The mothers were idiots and embarrassed my two friends, but the girls were normal. Getting to the point, they were JUDGED because of their names, not that they were truly any less intelligent than the average student.

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  104. Sarah -  June 27, 2011 - 2:20 pm

    Americans. So funny and racist and boring!

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  105. dave giorgio -  June 27, 2011 - 2:17 pm

    My name is Dave Giorgio and I have an easy time, socially. I have always had a sense that my name resonates well with people, and has made, perhaps, an impact on how I am able to interact socially. Whether a big or large impact, who knows? But I suspect some, at least.

    I have also considered my own perspective regarding what comes to mind when I hear a name. Whatever my previous experience is, I get an impression, which of course might be totally different than any new individual I might encounter.

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  106. Michelle -  June 27, 2011 - 2:01 pm

    I think what you name your child should be very carefully thought of. I hate to say it, but someone with an uncommon name or a name that is hard to pronounce will often get overlooked when their resume is put on someone’s desk. As for Sierra and Dakota, I know a Ciarra who is a very smart and beautiful young girl. However, I know that she may be overlooked based on her name because well…I haven’t met too many Sierras who are bright and self motivated like she is. So, sometimes its better to ride the wave then buck against it.

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  107. Los -  June 27, 2011 - 1:20 pm

    Through out history the names of people have had meaings, Like Claudia means name or so says the internet, Charles means free man; and Ernest comes from Earnest whith means honest, and also honest is a name i have heard before. It is only today that People name their children nothing or meaningless or the name of some stupid movie star that never really achieved anything, through out history the naming of a child had meaning or a purpose, as in “A boy named Sue” Johny cash.

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  108. Kevin -  June 27, 2011 - 1:06 pm

    Didn’t have time to read all of the comments but if you read the sample “89 undergraduates” it is not very big. In fact, it sounds like it could have been one class at a university which leads me to believe that many of them know the same people. Maybe many of them all knew a guy named Travis who failed his classes or they watched a movie with a guy named Travis who was a stoner/flunkee. Movies/famous people will have a big impact on this study but take this study national and results will change.

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  109. il -  June 27, 2011 - 1:03 pm

    Please, when you cite studies, provide a link to them. I know this will tempt some of us from your website, but be brave — we’ll be back soon enough.

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  110. Rachel -  June 27, 2011 - 1:03 pm

    Any study that involves only 89 people is hardly a study at all. To make such sweeping claims as “All Katherines are smart,” one would actually have to research HUNDREDS… even THOUSANDS of Katherines and those who they interact with. 89 people can hardly represent the opinions and ideals of the world.

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  111. Danielle -  June 27, 2011 - 1:01 pm

    To me, the correlation between name and educational status/social class points to cultural differences in our society more than anything else. People generally name their children based on the norms of their cultural group. So it is not because a child is named “Katherine” that she goes to private school, but rather because more people of higher socioeconomic status tend to name their girls “Katherine.” Seems like an obvious statement, but I don’t think this point was made explicit by the article.

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  112. Erica -  June 27, 2011 - 12:45 pm

    Regardless of the orgin of your name it is up to you to create an impression of yourself with the name you are given. If a bad impression follows your name, create a new impression. You will have nothing to worry about if you are creating the impression you want for YOUR NAME!

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  113. HD Truth -  June 27, 2011 - 12:45 pm

    Maddy M. on June 24, 2011 at 5:06 pm
    wow. Not to rag on anyone’s name or anything, but names sound like they can be put into categories, like “dumb blonde” or “smartie” or “dork” or “illiterate”. My name is Madelyn, tell me what category you think it fits in.

    Well I would say “Girl who really needs someone like me”

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  114. Montgomery -  June 27, 2011 - 12:41 pm

    BTW: I had to laugh a little at the comments condemning the researchers for doing this study. Those posters seemed to be saying that even acknowledging that people make judgments based on peoples’ names is somehow bigoted, and doing a study to test that theory is more so. What a crock! Things are what they are, and it does no good to close our eyes and plug our ears like two-year-olds…

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  115. Travis Arnold -  June 27, 2011 - 12:38 pm

    I will have to say that the rating of my name is false, as I am going to a private military college this fall. I do, however, believe that personal experiences have a big influence on how we judge names. For instance, I once knew a ‘Sherrona’ and she was big, ugly, and mean. Needless to say, I cringe when I hear that name in reference to other Sherronas, even if they are hot, smart, and or nice. The same can be said for positive experiences. I know some very respectable guys with the name ‘Josh.’ When I hear that name I think positive thoughts like- “He’s probably cool.”

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  116. Nakisa -  June 27, 2011 - 12:23 pm

    Ah, ye old nature vs. nurture, perception vs. reality debate.

    As objectively as I can, it seems as though our ancestry does influence the genetic ability of groups of peoples (sexual reproduction and the environmental influences of a hunter/gatherer society). This however, does not constitute the success or failure of the individual that by chance is a part of a group, afterall one can be successful in something that one does not neccessarily have the best ability in. I might add that environment breeds perception.

    Even in the revolutionary time we live in (yay internet and home theaters!) the nature vs. nurture & perception vs. reality debate is still ambiguous on all sides, all equipped with powerful arguments. In the end though it is up to the individual to decide, wheather conscious and/or unconsciously in consideration of their past, present and future arrangements, the successes and failures of their actions.

    My name is Nakisa. Na-kee-sa. People tell me my name is pretty and that they’ve never heard is before. I’ve often wondered what kind of impression my name gives. What might people think here? … then again I’ve kinda already given an impression with the above paragraph (>.<)

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  117. Sydney -  June 27, 2011 - 12:15 pm

    Names should not and DO NOT determine our success in life, it is the person’s job to do that. A name is merely your title given to you by your parents so they don’t have to call you multiple, random names like, No, Good, etc. Don’t let words define us, let us define words. My name is Sydney, and yes, my parents named me after the city, but that does not mean I am actually Sydney, Australia, it just means my parents enjoyed it so much they decided to name me after it. I’m no city! I’m Sydney! <<< I know… tried to make that rhyme, didn't exactly work out too well.

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  118. The Observer -  June 27, 2011 - 12:10 pm

    Having read the various ‘omg my name is Katherine, and I’m like…so smart! Let me tell you about my achievements!’ posts, I will now assume all Katherines are arrogant tools.

    Thanks for the insight.

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  119. Amber Kathryn -  June 27, 2011 - 11:57 am

    My name is Amber Kathryn…seriously! Wonder where that leaves me? I went to private school, have a college degree and run a multi-million dollar company…guess the Kathryn side is dominant.

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  120. Nancy -  June 27, 2011 - 11:56 am

    A person’s name can offer clues about his or her PARENTS’ socioeconomic status, but it doesn’t determine how smart or successful he or she will become.

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  121. Mallory -  June 27, 2011 - 11:44 am

    In saying that I don’t feel like I’m reckless with my name stamping my predestine future.

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  122. Marie Sharp -  June 27, 2011 - 11:40 am

    My first name is actually Tevis and I used to wind up as anything from Travis to Teevis and I hate it more than anything. I’ve never really bee one to think my name has much to do with anything and I still don’t, people make themselves into something no matter who they are, though it is very rare that you see a Lashondra or Monique as anything other than a hair dresser or something like that. (judged by what I’ve seen in my life, nothing else) I think people judge others by name, hear a name like Li you’re automatically going to think “smart, good with math, probably a better doc than the guy named Scott”

    What I will say is with the exception of ONE, I’ve never met a Kristy I didn’t like, I’ve never met a Jessica I did like (save one) and I’ve never met a Katie I didn’t like either. It’s more in perception then something proved by science. I would rather have a foreign sounding name than an Anglo-Saxon name.

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  123. Adam Pak -  June 27, 2011 - 11:28 am

    i would like to point out that the study only included 89 undergraduate students, and therefore the conclusions of this study may not be accurate. the results of this study may also depend on the location of the study, where some names are used more then others.

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  124. Armando Saavedra -  June 27, 2011 - 11:07 am

    Quite true. Unfortunately the most noticed are the ones who denote a lack of academicals and formal education on the parents.

    In El Salvador there are a lot of names and combinations of names that are common on the peasant people and almost impossible to use in the offspring of the metropolitan parents. Names like Yanira, Yesenia, Marilyn or Kevin (considering we are native Spanish speakers) put a mark on the person pointing out that he or she has not a sophisticated origin.

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  125. Mayan Queen -  June 27, 2011 - 11:05 am

    Why are you all so stupid? Names don’t have anything to do whit what you achieve in life. Its all about your hard-work.

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  126. Brandon Matthew -  June 27, 2011 - 11:01 am

    My name is Brandon Matthew Collins. I will not say my nationality due to the fact that once I have mentioned my name, most have have already made up their mind on that matter. I truly believe that this article has really gotten out of control as it has went from a simple article about the judgement of a name to a debate on race and culture. Someone’s name being their derivation has been a common misconception since before most of us were even conceived. What most do not know is that society is in fact at fault for they way we label our peers by the name they write down on their W-2 forms. When we think about Travis, yes we may think skater or dude with spiked hair and tattoos. Is it because its what all Travis’ have always looked like or because we have a public image from Travis Parker who fits that exact criteria. When I say William Christopher Smith Jr., most of you wouldn’t know who the hell I’m speaking of, but if I were to say Will Smith then most would go, ooooo yeaaaa fresh prince. When we feed into a name having a certain amount of power over a person being hired for a teaching position or being a senator or even just a secretary then we feed into the continuous notion that it’s okay to be prejudice. My Dentist is a woman by the name of Chaundra Simmons. She is not black she is white and is married to an Asian man named Ted Simmons who is the President of a security control agency. My doctor is Charles Washington, again not African-American, my best friend and colleague’s name is David Lee Griffin Jr. but likes to go by “Dave” Griffin at times and wellll he is African-American and plays semi-pro football and is a personal trainer and coach. Now me, I am a Psych major with my minor in spanish, I speak swahili, spanish, and some french. I have a a father who has a masters in public relations and minor on communications that works for the governor. My mother is a receptionist now but she is a retired teacher who specialized in special education. I have a cum. G.P.A. of a 3.6. and I skipped a grade when I was in second grade. I am 24 years old and have not graduated yet only because I took time off to raise my 4 year old son Brandon Jr. I was raised in Southern Los Angeles in a two room condo where at night I could not even step by any windows. So with some brief facts about me I can proudly say I am an educated, well raised, African/Native American, who has such a name as Brandon Matthew Collins Sr…..

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  127. Mallory -  June 27, 2011 - 10:56 am

    My name is Mallory, which means ill-fated. Imagine how bummed I am about my future. Not trying to sound superstitious but it makes me feel like I won’t live past 21..lol

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  128. Montgomery -  June 27, 2011 - 10:50 am

    Old money tends to choose Christian names based on family surnames. Middle-class parents have noted this and there are now millions of Madisons, Stacys, and so on whose families are in no way related to anyone with those last names, so it is obvious that people are intuitively aware of the power of names. The flip side of that is Hollywood and the world of rock music, in which people choose names for their subversive value, such as Apple and Dweezil…

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  129. thirteendollabill -  June 27, 2011 - 10:34 am

    You naysayers should probably be informed that there are many, many studies re: subtle influences on our behavior. The one that drives me nuts? German judges were given descriptions of hypothetical court cases and asked to decide how much money for damages was due to who. Just before they read the case description, they were shown a number – at random. They were told the number had nothing to do with the case.

    The judges consistently “awarded” lower settlements when shown low numbers (for example, 2 or 3) and higher settlements when they saw high numbers.

    And in behavioral psychology you’ll find this kind of statistical influence EVERYWHERE. The color red gets athletes to work harder than the color blue. Teachers grade Beulahs consistently lower than Tiffanys – even though the “homework” is exactly the same, just with a different name at the top.

    Lately I’ve been wondering about my friends who are male-to-female transgendered; my friends Peter, Mr. Dixon, Mr. Dickerson, and Mr. Dickey are all 4 moving toward being females.

    I’m just sayin’.

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  130. Brandon Matthew -  June 27, 2011 - 10:34 am

    My name is Brandon. What does that make me? black, white, asian,or what?

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  131. Kathleen -  June 27, 2011 - 10:31 am

    I’ve heard that Katherine has different variants… like Kathleen, Katie, Kate, Kat, Caitlin, and diffferent spellings of all of those. Basically, according to Behind the Name (a website that tells the meanings of names), all of those names I mentioned about mean “pure”, and are all derived from Katherine, which was derived from the goddess Hecate, supposedly.

    I do think that names can possibly have a bearing on how people are viewed, but I don’t believe they are deciding enough of factors to direct how a person will turn out in life. Based on how an individual is perceived by others (whether by name, color, creed, or background), that individual will react to either become that perception, or strive to become something else.

    My mom thought to name me Kathleen because she thought it would be good to have what she called a “professional-sounding name” so that I could be a lawyer or something like that… and that my name would make me sound important and stately. I go by Katie around friends and family, but while I was in college I allowed everyone to call me Kathleen. It was too much of a hassle to keep correcting everyone to call me a nickname, and I think the name sounds pretty anyway.

    I don’t really think my name had anything to do with how I turned out, though. I graduated at the top of my class, but I was always viewed as such a goofy kid. I went on to a university and graduated with a degree, and I’ve since published my own novel and I am working on another. I am also a professional photographer, and I pursue art and seamstressing as hobbies. I was never thought of as someone who seemed “street smart” because I was hardly ever serious, and for a long time I let people believe I was as naive as they seemed to think I was. Just because I was peppy, I was always thought of as a child. If they had looked at my name alone, though, and hadn’t had the chance to know me personally, I could see how they would think that I was book smart and street smart. It could be argued that I was viewed as childish and naive because of the nickname “Katie”, so I won’t discount that as a possibility. Though, that aside, I went by “Kathleen” enough that it really blurs the lines there a bit.

    I think I came out like this because I had supportive family and friends, and a husband who always pushes me to my fullest potential. My husband is a prime example of someone who was judged based on socioeconomic status and background, and thereby changed how he was perceived by striving to be far better. He grew up in a violent, broken household and was raised from childhood in foster care. No one had high expectations for him. He is currently the holder of an associate’s, two bachelor’s with a major in political science and spanish, and a minor in criminal justice. He has also been serving in the army and is currently undergoing classes and training to be an officer, with his final goal being part of the intel of the FBI. I have never seen him not reach a goal that he has set for himself. What if I said his name was Zachary? Or William? Do you think that sounds like names prestigious enough for all he has accomplished? I’m not sure if it really holds much bearing…

    And, on another note, why so many heated comments? This wasn’t an offensive or biased article, so there should only be calm replies of opinions. I’m actually kind of surprised. No one needs to take this article so personally that they would cast down others for their honest opinions. Whose to say who is right and who is wrong? This is simply an article meant to take opinions on the question at hand, not to throw insults and accusations to others.

    Also, not to sound insulting (and not that I much care because this is an anonymous thread with some ridiculous comments already), but I doubt the likliness of someone named LaFonda just happening to be reading such an article, and who also just happened to see the comment made by Katherine, and thusly just happened to write a comment so shortly after in reply. I’m not saying that the idea of there being a LaFonda with a PhD is impossible. I just think that the comment was made by someone being sarcastic. Just saying.

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  132. Mitchell -  June 27, 2011 - 10:30 am

    I’ve noticed a pattern in names at my school. It’s a pattern in who’s popular and who’s not. There are multiple popular girls named “Aubrie,” “Abby,” or “Erin.” Those are all popular names in the U.S. People named “Monique,” “Andrea,” or “Akanksha” aren’t as popular and neither are their names. I don’t see this pattern in the boys as much, but they also don’t have such a set group of “popular” at my school.

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  133. Lee -  June 27, 2011 - 10:29 am

    This article merely mirrors the subject of stigma and stereotype that is born from personal judgment. We are all judgmental; only that some of us judge negatively more so than positively. And yes, it is okay to judge; after all, how are we to make decisions about our own lives? Even a positive judgment about an individual is still a judgment. Even the word itself has a stigma associated with it.

    But if we are to judge simply on appearance and title (your name) upon first meeting (or mention of a person), then we are naturally going to judge based on our individual experiences. I’ve never met a Travis that I thought was of lower intelligence or success; but that’s not to say that other people have met a slew of idiots greasing ball bearings in a back room all named Travis (by no means to say greasing ball bearings is a job for idiots). And if any of you have ever had the honor of choosing a name for a child (and yes, it is an honor), then you’ll know how difficult it is to overcome your prejudice for or against certain names. As in, “I knew a girl named Crystal who was dirty and promiscuous, therefore I will not name my Daughter Crystal.” Does that mean everyone named Crystal is a feral hooker? No. And I’ve certainly been proven wrong on several occasions of my prejudice against the name – it still doesn’t change my mind to never name a kid Crystal, however. But, all this time I thought Josephine was an elegant name, only to find that a lot of people think it to be a “trucker name”; but I still like it, and think it to be elegant. Point being, it boils down to our perception as individuals, interacting as a community and society. Naturally, we will influence one another. This article shouldn’t be viewed as insulting, nor absolute, but as an enlightening remark about us as a society. Perhaps one day, Lees will be thought of as more than janitors, or guys who are prone to random nose bleeds.

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  134. Octavia -  June 27, 2011 - 10:26 am

    @ Ward Kendall, I would love to see a full reference for your assertion that
    ” White children – as a group – are more likely to be born with higher intelligence than blacks.”

    Hundreds of reports are associated with Human Genome Project research which one are you referring to? The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ornl.gov) was the first result that came up when I Googled “Human Genome Project”. The information I found on their website discussing the HGP seemed to indicate that the construct of race does not have any basis in genetics. Here is a quote taken from a page entitled “Minorities, Race and Genomics”

    “DNA studies do not indicate that separate classifiable subspecies (races) exist within modern humans. While different genes for physical traits such as skin and hair color can be identified between individuals, no consistent patterns of genes across the human genome exist to distinguish one race from another. There also is no genetic basis for divisions of human ethnicity”

    Tell me, Ward, if the scientists were unable to classify humans by race, how is it that any assertiions could be made about which race had superior intelligence? I did find link to an interesting news article called Genesis of Neo Racism (by Timothy Caulfield) on the same website that had the following tidbit

    “In September of this year [2007] Nobel Prize winner, James Watson, made outrageous claims about the genetic inferiority of Africans. Just last week, in a wonderfully ironic spin, we learn that Dr. Watson has 16 times the number of “African” genes than the average white European.” But I suppose we digress, as his story is about names, not race or racism.

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  135. bumpyRd -  June 27, 2011 - 10:09 am

    It’s worth repeating that this little study measured the prejudices of their little non-randomized group.

    Correlation is not causation, and “Freakonomics” is NOT science.

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  136. Octavia -  June 27, 2011 - 10:01 am

    I agree that there is truth to this article. We all form biases based upon our own experiences and the experiences of others we have influential relationships with. i.e. I may not know a “Susan”, but my mother knows a few and says they are all very smart and attractive women, hence, I develop a perception that “Susans” are generally smart and attractive. If I meet a “Susan” of my own and she is also smart and attractive, that bias is strengthened. That is just the way it is, we cannot escape bias, we all have it and only reduce it by being exposed (and open) to substantial contradictory evidence. For example, If I meet a string of women named Susan who are unintelligent and unattractive, I have two choices (I believe that these choices are subconscious and a function of my general ability to assimilate new information) I can adjust my bias and conclude that all “Susans” are not the same OR I can decide that the new “Susans” are an exception to the rule and maintain my original bias.

    All this to say, yes, what you name your child matters. They will be perceived as white, ethnic, smart, energetic, boring, open-minded or any number of other adjectives by those they encounter. Those perceptions vary according to the age, ethnicity and experiences of each person they meet. Likewise, their ability to shift those perceptions will depend upon others’ ability to tear down the walls of their personal biases.

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  137. Lily -  June 27, 2011 - 9:45 am

    based on the correlation between name and comments regarding this essay, people named Katherine talk too much.

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  138. Catherine -  June 27, 2011 - 9:43 am

    Based on no research, I say that someone named “Catherine” found living in Mali has English as her first language, was a Christian but turned Muslim, she struggled through university and upon graduating, ran away to Mali to live a humble life away from people making research in order to stereotype her and to somehow subtly revive a form of racism based on a nonmulticultural concept.

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  139. Saara -  June 27, 2011 - 9:42 am

    what about Saara…?

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  140. Kathryn -  June 27, 2011 - 9:21 am

    My name is kathryn and a lot of my peers and my teachers say that i am very smart, but i never thought that it had anything to do with my name!

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  141. Courtney -  June 27, 2011 - 9:13 am

    Dakota Fanning graduated in the top of her class in high school and will be attending NYU in the fall.

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  142. Regina -  June 27, 2011 - 9:07 am

    There was a similar study done in Germany, where they found that teacher’s perceptions of kid’s names influence their expectations of their school performance: academic achievement, possible problem behaviors, etc. If the name sounds lower class, expectations are lower, and conversely, if it sounds higher class, the expectations are higher. How do you suppose that affected their treatment of those students?

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  143. Larry Chase -  June 27, 2011 - 9:03 am

    I believe as does most researchers in Pschycology does, It;s a person’s enviroment and Family and Friends that combined together as a positive or even a negative influience’s a persons ability to grow and understand these influences on their out comeof how they perform in Adulthood . I myself did not recieving good grades until my sophmore year it was then I started making A’s in all classes until then I was a D student and it was due to my enviroment later when I Enlisted in the Army they told me that from my I.Q. to my mechanical and math skills were off their Charts and for that they made me a nuclear technician for missles and I regretted that ever since the other men were Idiots to me and several times proved it ,

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  144. Lauren -  June 27, 2011 - 8:58 am

    I’m biased, but I always thought that Lauren was a higher-class sounding name than the people in this study seem to think it is. “Lauren goes to a public university” – not me. I’m going to a private university! By the way, does anyone else think it’s awfully convenient that Katherine is rated as one of the “best” names so soon after the royal wedding? I don’t remember anyone saying that Katherine was such a great name before then.

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  145. John U -  June 27, 2011 - 8:49 am

    This article brought the story of Marcus Tullius Cicero to mind. Cicero lived during the tumultuous transition of Ancient Rome from a republic to rule by emperors. He was a Roman statesman, as well as lawyer, philosopher, and political theorist. He was killed by the order of his old enemy, Mark Antony, in 43 BCE. Cicero’s name means “chickpea.” When he entered politics he was encouraged to change his name to something more majestic. He refused and resolved to render his name noble in the minds of his countrymen by dint of his accomplishments. And he was a success in doing so. In his day, his accomplishments as one of the leading statesmen of Ancient Rome made him one of the most popular men of the era. Today, the writings he has left to to us garner the same level of respect. Here, then, is an example of an ignoble name spurring a person to greatness.

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  146. Joe Snarky -  June 27, 2011 - 8:48 am

    Seems like nothing more than an excersize in prejudice

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  147. Ben -  June 27, 2011 - 8:46 am

    This study is a scam. To judge anyone based on name alone is like judging someone based on race, ethnicity, height, eye color, etc…, I’m surprised studies like this still exist. I thought we (the American public) were past the point of blatant discrimination. Judging someone should be based on personal achievements NOT factors that an individual has no control over.

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  148. Professor Sir Lemonjello Esq -  June 27, 2011 - 8:40 am

    This is straight out of Freakonomics.

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  149. Kathryn -  June 27, 2011 - 8:30 am

    Dakota Fanning is the exception to the rule, Lafonda from Yale also seems to be an exception

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  150. veronica -  June 27, 2011 - 8:29 am

    My name is veronica & all that it implies

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  151. CT -  June 27, 2011 - 8:23 am

    I know people judge others based on their names. My name is Cassie (my last name is very common). By the sound of my full name, my college roommate thought I would be a white skinny blonde preppy cheerleader. By the sound of her name Lauren…I thought the same for her. When we finally met, we both were shocked. I am an African American plus- sized theatre girl and she is a Caucasian plus-sized theater girl. lol
    We shouldn’t judge people by their names, but we are flawed in that we judge everyday!

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  152. the incredible me -  June 27, 2011 - 8:21 am

    and if your name sucks, then why don’t you just change your name or change how people view your name?

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  153. the incredible me -  June 27, 2011 - 8:20 am

    what about average names, like Abby or Emma? If you look them up on urbandictionary, they say stuff like how attractive you are or what you are like. how can they judge your personality and looks by your name?

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  154. David -  June 27, 2011 - 8:13 am

    Also names lead people to be racially inclusive/exclusive depending on the consonance of the word

    Reply
  155. Aretha -  June 27, 2011 - 8:06 am

    My name is Aretha. Am I white or black or other? Take a guess.

    Reply
  156. Caitlyn -  June 27, 2011 - 7:57 am

    so chill people, k?

    Reply
  157. Caitlyn -  June 27, 2011 - 7:54 am

    Im not saying that these statistics are for real or biased, because I don’t know for sure, but there is some truth to the fact that certain names click with certain people, like the name timothy could be liked better than the name susan or vise versa, there fore, there is a very slim chance that timothy has a better shot at nailing an interview than susan or the other way around, it all depends on the interviewer, and Im thinking it works the same way with racial biases, except on a larger scale.

    Reply
  158. Dreama -  June 27, 2011 - 7:26 am

    @Queen Sardonic: Funny you should mention the name Travis. I know two people personally named Travis. One is your stereotypical cowboy. Yeap. He has a ranch. Since his father passed away he has had to take over ranching duties. He was also a circuit rider on the rodeo.
    The second Travis I know had a 4.0 all the way through high school, four years at university, two years at med school (If I remember that correctly), and is now a doctor. People are who they make themselves. I am not my name.

    Reply
  159. Lindsey Bright -  June 27, 2011 - 7:14 am

    Hey everyone, I’m Lindsey. Seventeen years old. I happened to be doing a school asignment and stumbled across this little debate. I’ve never judged myself based upon my name. My parents named me Lindsey after the star Lindsey Wagner in Bionic Woman. Now, this all reminds me of the argument on the theories nurture versus nature. For it seems some of you are comparing names to the lower class and some to the upper class, measuring that on success rate. I’m no scientist, and I have not conducted any studies, but here are my thoughts.

    Honestly, I think a person’s success all has to do with how they were brought up. If the children of both a wealthy home and a less wealthy home were provided with a good education, they both have a shot at being successful. Though, here is the difference. A child who lives in a wealthy home is likely to have been hand fed all of its life. Having some great opportunities, and over all a nice taste of the good life. What more could the child ask for? While a child of a less wealthy home may realize that they will have to work hard in order to be successful. This child may have to depend on an athletic scholarship or academic scholarship in order to get into a nice college. Their different environments have an impact on how successful they may end up becoming.

    I’m not saying this applies to everyone. It is merely an opinion. Besides, I’m not some all-knowing teenager, that would be absurd. ;D

    Reply
  160. Zenichi-Maro -  June 27, 2011 - 7:09 am

    This is nothing new. Repackaged nominative determinism. Big whoop. For the record, anyone can be whomever they choose to be. Name is not destiny.

    Reply
  161. ESMERALDA -  June 27, 2011 - 7:06 am

    i wonder what people think when they hear the name Esmeralda….

    Reply
  162. ComeOn -  June 27, 2011 - 7:05 am

    Come on people, it is just a study providing information. The problem with everyone today is that they immediately get offending by anything, even if it is just factual numbers.

    The study doesn’t mean that everyone named “LaFonda” is an idiot or a loser. It just means that they have found that if you take a pool of people, those named LaFonda are more likely to be have been less successful. It doesn’t mean you won’t find someone named LaFonda that is successful.

    Its just as dumb as people saying, “smoking doesn’t cause cancer because my granny lived to 100 and smoked her whole life”.

    Reply
  163. Dr. Marvin Asbury -  June 27, 2011 - 7:04 am

    @LaFonda –
    Your doctorate came from public money on the back of taxpayers and handouts from bleeding hearts.
    Your admission to the program was a quota-based declaration against those that studied harder and were more qualified.
    Your doctorate is real, your achievement is hollow.
    Do not presume to think you can fool these people into thinking it was of your own talent and abiltiy. It was not.

    Reply
  164. Dreama -  June 27, 2011 - 6:57 am

    Tim Martin: Having an unusual name can be detrimental to a child. You have no idea how often I wished my name would have been Rebekah instead of Dreama growing up. My name, although I love it now and get wonderful comments, was almost as if it was punishment growing up. I have had every song that has ever been written with the word ‘dream’ in it sang to me. . .Including “We’re the Dream-a warriors. Don’t wanna Dreama no more!” My name is the reason I gave my children ‘normal’ names. They are Jonathan, Nathaniel, Christopher, Samuel, and Naomi. Normal!

    Reply
  165. Fungible -  June 27, 2011 - 6:34 am

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t think of Lafondas as being doctors, or Katherines or Samuels either because I think of doctors by last names. Just think about that.

    Names really do have stereotypes with them. The peer pressure can cause people to live up to the stereotypes so sometimes the stereotypes are true. Sometimes people have names that don’t seem to fit them and never really do, and sometimes in your mind the name’s stereotype goes away and begins to fit that person.

    Reply
  166. Ashwin L -  June 27, 2011 - 6:21 am

    After all, what’s in a name?

    Reply
  167. chidz -  June 27, 2011 - 6:03 am

    in hindsight thats a stupid comment i just made there…anyway i dont agree with the socio-economic status aspect ambers and travis’s of this world YOU CAN make it! dont let you name be a barrier to success :) however it does affect personality..im an emma and people have told me i am the sweetest,cutest,kindest,humblest (really) person they know..seriously i feel guilty if i forget to flush a public toilet and im sure a lot of you can testify to the ‘niceness’ of emmas all over the world ..so yeah i name can mold yah!!

    Reply
  168. Shea -  June 27, 2011 - 6:02 am

    Why does “Dr” lafonda sound so UPTIGHT? uuuuu..smells inpatient.

    Reply
  169. Moriah -  June 27, 2011 - 6:01 am

    Moriah here; Hebrew name in the bible for a range of mountains. Truthfully, I’m a fat woman with tons of tattoos and a severe love of Persian Jews.

    Reply
  170. chidz -  June 27, 2011 - 5:52 am

    LOL! noone said Dakota’s gonna go to college :D she just acts!!

    Reply
  171. Brian -  June 27, 2011 - 5:43 am

    Wouldn’t the type of people to name their children Katherine vs. Brianna be different types of people. It is to say that a person of higher economic standing would name their child differently than a person of lower economic standing. If this is the case a name could very well indicate social standing in certain situations. Not to say, that all names indicate status, but this might be a cause. They say that a person is more likely to attend college if his/her parents attended college. So if people of higher status name their children differently it follows that these children would be in higher economic standing

    Reply
  172. Dilia Bobadilla -  June 27, 2011 - 5:41 am

    This sounds like other than “about names”. There seems to be an ‘express’ intention of something other than ‘about names’, that is reducing the world’s population names to 2/3 top categories! uhm…

    Reply
  173. Super Fast Guides -  June 27, 2011 - 5:03 am

    Judging someone on the basis of their name alone sounds like an extreme case of judging a book by its cover!

    Reply
  174. Martin Dyer -  June 27, 2011 - 4:39 am

    There’s a horrible fashion for giving children stupid names. Lower class people emulate celebrities and think giving their child a unique name is going to help them. Sadly, it simply means that you’re not very clever because you’ve not even given much thought to naming your own child.

    Yes, the given name a person bears does have bearing. Names like ‘Neveah’, ‘Amber’ and Crystal’ suggest a different background to names like ‘Catherine’, ‘Eleanor’ and ‘Jane’.

    And although first impressions are formed, nearly everyone gives the bearer of the name the chance to make their own impression.

    Reply
  175. Ryan -  June 27, 2011 - 4:09 am

    While people should not be judged by their names, I think it’s worth noting that our names are given to us by our parents, and the type of home one comes out of can affect the way one tends to make decisions. What type of parents might name their child “Katherine?” What type of parents might name their child “Ke’Londra?” Where might “William” or “Chester” come from? What about “Martin,” “Deanna,” or “Earl?” Imagine what people would have thought if the names of the TV characters Dale Gribble and Frasier Crane were switched. When you think of the name “Ricky Bobby,” do you think of an intelligent and well-adjusted individual or do you think of an ignorant farm boy? Is it fair to be so biased? Perhaps not, but the writers of the film “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” definitely knew that this bias exists. If your parents are the kind that are likely to name you “Rock” or “Billy Jack,” there’s a chance that you might not be able to afford college. On the other hand, maybe you’ll go on to win the Nobel Prize for physics. Dr. Billy Jack might distinguish himself as an intellectual of the highest order. Regardless of who are parents might be, we can still earn success. Names are just labels. Somewhere, there may just be a neurologist named TreShon! We are more than our names. Still, you have to admit that “Frederick the Cable Guy” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

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  176. this is Adam -  June 27, 2011 - 3:48 am

    @Ward Kendall: Rubbish. Blacks perform worse than whites because the tests are culturally biased. If you look at the performance of blacks you will discover that there is no difference in performance between “black blacks” (i.e. those people with a high proportion of African genes) and “white blacks” (i.e. those people with a high proportion of European genes). If this was a genetic phenomenom you would expect better performance by blacks with a higher proportion of European genes. If you look outside America, you will find that the fastest increase in population intelligence is currently happening in Africa. This is because the population is being integrated into the modern world and the differences in cultural understanding are reducing, so Africans are becoming more familiar with Western concepts and ideas and are therefore better able to solve problems within the frameworks that encompass these concepts and ideas.

    Reply
  177. Name -  June 27, 2011 - 2:56 am

    Talk about Lars Alexanderson… what kind of name was that?

    Reply
  178. Eileen -  June 27, 2011 - 12:33 am

    I hate how my name’s associated with old grandmas. I think there was a lunch lady back when I was in highschool named Eileen… *sigh*

    Reply
  179. Archon -  June 27, 2011 - 12:29 am

    @ Anna

    Why is Dakota Fanning very sucessful at a very young age?… I don’t know. Has she gone to college yet? That’s what the prediction was, not that she couldn’t be successful. And the prediction wasn’t about one specific Dakota, but rather, about all Dakotas, statistically.

    Statistically, 75% of people who die of lung cancer, have yellowed fingers on one hand. Do yellow fingers cause death by cancer? I wait to read what the madding crowd has to say about that.

    Reply
  180. venis -  June 27, 2011 - 12:07 am

    what do you think about my name VENIS POSER????

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  181. Kat -  June 26, 2011 - 11:56 pm

    @Tiffany:

    “There is only ONE race and it is known as “HUMAN!” ”

    Dictionary.com disagrees. So does the OED. Race pertains to any group of people, animals, etc, linked by common descent. Straight from the OED: “In its widest sense the term includes all descendants from an original stock, but may also be limited to a single line of descent or to the group as it exists at a particular period.”

    @Ward:

    I’d like to see a link to the specific HGP page discussing race and intelligence. Nothing I’ve read seems to come close.

    As for the study? It commented on correlation and perception only and clearly pointed out that a person’s future can in no way be determined solely by a name — but that it may influence direction. Saying “oh, well, I know a LaFonda who has a PhD” isn’t evidence against it; it’s evidence only that it isn’t a universal truth or inevitability, like the low-activity form of the MAOA gene (dubbed the “warrior gene”) and its effect on aggression.

    Do please come off your soapboxes.

    Reply
  182. Upasana Sonowal -  June 26, 2011 - 11:37 pm

    Hi
    It’s not silliness. I do feel names do reflect status. Even in India we have names that reflect status. Names like- Champa, Kanta, Rani, Lado, Ram, Raja etc. show a class that is still very traditional.

    Reply
  183. T -  June 26, 2011 - 11:00 pm

    They obviously messed up their tests, and probably had very limited participation. I would have represented the name better than some of these buffoons who scathed the name.

    Reply
  184. T -  June 26, 2011 - 10:53 pm

    This angered me, its just not the truth. Statistics don’t always speak good volumes..my name is Travis, being named specifically after the colonel at the Alamo. I have perfect grades, a better realization than many out there…poetic, the works..I find this to be just wrong, I would never post here otherwise, but this is very foolish. The Hot Word is overstepping their bounds to pick names and demoralize them as they see fit, because it could quite possibly just be a personal animosity the writer of this whole page. And the funny thing is, they are probably praising people they’ve known in their own lives, which is a very drastic thing to do and to just post it here. The scale could quite possible be the reverse, since the writer wants to prop certain names on top, it could quite well be the reverse. This is just a way to get even it sounds to me. I understand there is a natural propensity for power in anyone’s name, I sometimes can notice this, that they carry that handle for some reason, I mean it is given by who helps grow out of our youths, but this is a little much really.

    Reply
  185. ANNA -  June 26, 2011 - 10:41 pm

    People with the name ‘Dakota’ don’t go to college? But why is Dakota Fanning very successful at a very young age??

    Reply
  186. Adam -  June 26, 2011 - 10:08 pm

    @Petunia – My personal prejudices with names would tell me that LaFonda is more likely to be lower class than Katherine, and didn’t have the advantages of rich, well educated parents. Therefore, if she was bright enough, or worked hard enough, to get into med school and qualify in a competitive field like brain surgeon, she’s probably pretty darn good at it. So I’ll take LaFonda, please.

    Incidentally, I suspect the reason there are lots of comments from Katherines is because the article subtitle on the main page is ‘People called Katherine are…’ I know if I saw an article like that with my name, I’d read it.

    Reply
  187. Ruari -  June 26, 2011 - 10:06 pm

    Actually, this article sounds pretty astute. Think about it. If someone told you about a woman named Ethyl or Edith, do you not automatically think of someone’s grandmother or middle-aged aunt?

    People attache certain attributes to certain names — like most think girls with the name Heather or Raquel are pretty or guys named Roscoe or Cletus are of limited intelligence or are “rednecks”.

    My, name, for instance is Ruari (pronounced Rawr-ree) and here in the States, people assume it’s a girl’s name, and in my case, it is. But in Ireland, where my family hails, it’s a boy’s name and automatically assumed to be a boy since it is the name of King’s and it common to name your son after the Kings of Ireland.

    I’m not saying that this will hold true for everyone. There is always the exception to the “rule” but this is how stereotypes are established.

    Reply
  188. S. Peallah -  June 26, 2011 - 9:46 pm

    Do you think I made a mistake? I named my son Supercalifragilisticexpeallahdocious. It’s a variation of my name.

    Reply
  189. Caroline -  June 26, 2011 - 9:32 pm

    Well Katherine, we did have a Secretary of State named Condoleezza.
    I am willing to venture a guess that your own (rather racist) sense of entitlement will probably never allow you make it quite that far, despite your “regal” name.

    Katharine on June 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm wrote:

    My name is Katharine and I went to a private school. I’m pretty studious and always make good grades. My mom chose the name because it sounded strong and regal. I wonder how many doctors and lawyers are named “Shaniqua” or “Lafonda.”

    Reply
  190. Rachel -  June 26, 2011 - 9:31 pm

    Okay- everyone needs to calm down. Honestly, I dont see why people are getting so worked up over this, its really not that important. Certain names do have certain connotations associated with them, but just because these prejudices and connotations exist does not mean that they are correct. Its up to the individual whether they choose to conform to these prejudices or not.

    The moral here is, dont judge a book by its title. Now people can stop taking a whinge and get on with their lives- after all this is Dictionary.com, not Twitter :)

    Reply
  191. blob -  June 26, 2011 - 9:24 pm

    what? so do we have to blame the person who gives us our names..

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  192. Savannah -  June 26, 2011 - 9:17 pm

    @Savannah: Your name sounds so ignorant, I cant believe you just asked that question. My name is far more superior than yours(;

    Reply
  193. Amber -  June 26, 2011 - 9:04 pm

    AMBER
    I have to say that’s quite ignorant to say, my name is amber, I’m great, point proven. Also as it is to say that Amber is a stripper or a strippers name. Just because one person is named Amber or whatever, and is successful or not does not say that the article is wrong and therefor categorizes people my there name.
    I agree that names may affect on how people may see you or judge you, but this is human nature to judge a person on their outward aspects.
    A person future is determined by their determination, perseverance and diligence. Maybe it is true that a name affects a persons intelligence. But a study on 89 students does not say much.
    A race does have an affect on intelligence since races in third world countries do not necessarily receive the same education as other countries. Yet that is also assuming that the only smart there is is book smart, but education can also expand your level of reasoning, logic and perspective on people, race, and life itself.
    My name is Amber and I am 16. In the future I plan to attend Trinity Western University or McGill University, the top rating Canadian University, after graduation. I know if I try hard and have the right motives I will exceed at what I do. At the current moment I do exceed the requirements for both Universities. But that does not say anything about names relating to ones success rate.
    It is an interesting thought though, if a persons name does affect their socioeconomic and educational standing.

    Savannah, I think it sounds exotic and exciting, like you want to have fun but yet can be quite mellow and chill. Sorry if I’m totally off on that, personal opinion.

    Reply
  194. Sam -  June 26, 2011 - 8:44 pm

    @ Katharine (the first Katharine to comment)
    That is quite possibly the most disgusting comment I’ve seen. You went to a private school so you think you’re better than everyone? My best friend’s name is Lafonda, and she just earned her doctorate with a 4.0 GPA last term. She is now a doctor in psychology. Screw you, princess.

    Reply
  195. pixie -  June 26, 2011 - 8:38 pm

    my name is soooooo pretty and i like saying dave by the way
    oh yeah polly thinks its really funny when i say DAVE!!!

    Reply
  196. Summer -  June 26, 2011 - 8:09 pm

    My name is Summer and I am 17 years old. I’m currently taking college classes from a cummunity college through my high school. I had chosen to pursue a career in Special Education, but recently I changed it to Physical Therapy.

    I just think it would be rather interesting to know what everyone else thinks about my name. So what do you think?

    Reply
  197. Michael -  June 26, 2011 - 8:05 pm

    People should really stop dissing this study. All they did was prove that two variables correlate. The study didn’t claim that your name causes socioeconomic differences; it just pointed out that the two factors are linked in some way. The person who wrote this article is the idiot that doesn’t understand that correlation does not prove causation. There’s probably something else at work that this study doesn’t analyze. For example, people tend to name their kids after close family members, and close family members tend to have similar economic standing. If this were to happen often enough, there would definitely be a correlation between certain names and economic achievement. That does not mean, however, that the name was the cause of the difference. The real cause was the genetics of the family in which that name was prevalent and the environment into which the child was born.

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  198. Mike -  June 26, 2011 - 7:55 pm

    Perception of status in a name is mostly media driven and generational.

    Johnny Carson. Comedic personality.
    Johnny Rotten. Insane.

    Ted Knight – Mary Tyler Moore show. Egotistical.
    Ted Bundy – Mass murderer.

    Ernest Borgnine – rugged short stocky
    Ernest T. Bass – tall lanky goofy

    And the list goes on.

    Perception of status of names depends on what one has been subject to in their lives. Perception of conservative names is usually those individuals are successful, ordinary, normal. Uniquely named individuals are stereotyped as weird, strange, odd.

    My perceptions, thoughts, of above names.

    Savannah – white – long hair – classic southern beauty.

    Byron – personable, gracious, based on Byron Nelson.

    Ray – Tough, short cut kind of guy, hard to trust.

    Lauren – white – smart, attractive, bookish.

    Ward – “Kind of tough on the Beaver last night, weren’t you Ward?”

    LaFonda – Black. Low income upbringing. Lower intelligence. Sterotyping, but that is what I would think the majority, and I, would percieve.
    Sometimes the truth is ugly.

    Katherine – Regal. Classy. Can hold her own.

    Amanda – Cold, calculating. Based solely on a relative of mine.

    Perry – dry, stoic, intelligent.

    Mike – Smart, handsome, charming, independent, all around nice guy. :0)

    Everyone’s perceptions differ. Based on one’s age, intelligence, personal experience, upbringing, and numerous other factors.
    Never judge a person by their name. Throw your perceptions out the window. Most of the time they’re wrong.

    Reply
  199. Archon -  June 26, 2011 - 7:43 pm

    If you want proof that names affect how people view you, or at least that people believe that they do, you need only run down the column of posts, and see how many of them are not labled with a real name, mine included. They include A, Ace, r, CJ, JR, gnimdo, The Figure, Luck in W, Book Beater, saqooda, poop, Yukon Jake and Tabby. (I hope that’s just an alias.) The irony is the number of these noms de guerre who deny any relation, and yet fail to present themselves by their real names.

    I was taught to speak and write according to the audience, therefore the name above is what I use in online threads like this. Somewhat intellectual yet esoteric, chosen long before the Star Trek episode which is the only way many people identify it, it intimates that I am somewhat of an iconoclast who has control over his identity.

    My own given name is rock solid, not overly common, but steady in place of preference. My last name is so dirt common that I add a second initial to distinguish me from the guy with the same name who runs a local transmission shop, or the parole officer,(nothing like getting a call at 3AM on a Saturday from Guido who lost the phone number and looked up mine and wants to check in. Put the phone under the wife’s initials.) or the teacher at the community college that I attended years ago and taught at part-time myself. This is the name I have letters to the editor, community opinion pieces, and even a 32 line poem published under, in a couple of newspapers. That’s serious, this is just fun.

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  200. SecretName -  June 26, 2011 - 7:31 pm

    I think that people tend to judge a person by their name depending on whether or not it has stood the test of time…like, I think a lot of people would be more confident if their surgeon’s name was Robert, Katherine, Micheal, or Stacey, rather than Skylar or Amber or Jaylee or something. I think that people tend to associate more traditional names with security and trustworthiness. Not that that’s fair, of course. But I do think that the statistic of people with particular names being more or less likely to be successful could be related to parenting. I think that, overall, parents who will be more strict or have higher expectations of their children in terms of education are probably more likely to name their kids more traditional names, and less likely to go with “Kieayleee”.

    Reply
  201. winter -  June 26, 2011 - 7:28 pm

    to the guy that commented that naming your child “loser”, i have something to say. there actually was a guy that named his two sons “winner lane” and “loser lane”. “loser” had grown up to be a success in life, and “winner” had gone to jail, and was basically a “loser”

    Reply
  202. Karen -  June 26, 2011 - 7:24 pm

    I wouldn’t worry too much about your name because it was a “study conducted on 89 undergraduate students” Not very scientific!

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  203. Paul -  June 26, 2011 - 7:16 pm

    If you click Ward Kendall’s name, you’ll see it takes you to his book available on Amazon. Just a quick glance can make you well aware of what kind of racist bigot we’re dealing with.

    FYI Ward, “race” has nothing to do with intelligence or achievement. Your arguments are not based on science, they’re based on pseudoscience. Biased pseudoscience. What really impresses me is not that an old git like you attempts to shove this BS down our throats, but the fact that so many of the readers of this website – who should know better – endorse and encourage this flippant 19th-century idiocy. Race is a social construct – it is about politics not science. You should attempt to read more and learn a bit about the history of domination, Eurocentrism, segregation and white privilege in economics, politics, and the very structure on which society was built. Try to inform yourself more on the colossal gaps when it comes to the opportunities in education, healthcare, and employment among people of different colours. Try to see what life is like in a country where most people are of colour and even so, people are denied jobs on the grounds that their skin is too dark for businesses’ standards (as is the case in many countries in Latin America, for example). But, honestly, I don’t think you are able to do that. The effort you took to write a novel lauding racial segregation shows you’re not willing to develop as a human being. All we can do is feel sorry for your ignorance and remain hopeful as idiots like you are more and more a thing of the past.

    Reply
  204. Dave -  June 26, 2011 - 6:30 pm

    …perhaps I should have made it clearer that all the father’s fathers are called “David” as well. Somewhat of a family tradition.

    Reply
  205. Dave -  June 26, 2011 - 6:28 pm

    What?! A WHOLE 89 people!! Did they conduct the study as they were walking between classes? Was the “study” a class project?

    I mean, I know 69% of statistics are made up on the spot but surely anyone can see that any study of 89 people out of 6,775,235,700 in 2009 (thanks Google) is worth a lot less anxiety than this article caused.

    For the record and because it’s so much fun:
    I am David the Fourth and I have a masters in business
    My father was a Welsh insurance salesman who migrated to New Zealand after the Second World War.
    His father was a coal miner in Wales
    I think his father was a French crook who moved to Wales to escape justice

    To cap it off I have called my son David and I have high hopes that he will live a happy life.

    Reply
  206. Savannah -  June 26, 2011 - 6:16 pm

    My name is Savannah…….What do you think? Sound smart or not? :)

    Reply
  207. Byron -  June 26, 2011 - 6:09 pm

    I don’t really know what to say. I agree that your name cannot change your future but at the same time I agree that some famous or working hard people do share a few names. I was named after the famous poet Lord Byron but what do you think of my name?

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  208. Ray Shell -  June 26, 2011 - 5:55 pm

    I’m thinking that if a name sounded weird like Fassa or something it would just affect the perception of how others see you.

    However, I think studies of shown this because the perception of others affects you.

    I think the point is to just not let those insults get in your way.

    And I have a Katherine in my grade and she’s not outstanding or anything but she is nice.

    And all this gibberish about names is pooish so if one is named Smartica or whatever doesn’t been that person will be smart.

    Hopefully this wasn’t a shazzy comment. (Sorry, I make up words for myself all the time)

    Reply
  209. Sarah -  June 26, 2011 - 5:51 pm

    @Ward Kendall
    that may sound scientific and all, but im not convinced. I think judging sumone on their name is shallow and stupid. A name does not define who you are.

    Reply
  210. TheByzantine -  June 26, 2011 - 5:48 pm

    My name is Welcome Matt. I am tired of being stepped on just because of my name.

    Reply
  211. theguywholikesdonuts -  June 26, 2011 - 5:38 pm

    my name is BOB and i love jelly donuts

    Reply
  212. roomfulofdirt -  June 26, 2011 - 5:37 pm

    My job gives me quick access to trivial searches of Ivy League graduates names and SES at the time of admission. I do not have access to attendees. I went back to both grad and post grad FIRST names from Yale Class of 1921 until present. No LaFondas Lafondas, or anything closer than a guy with a hyphenated name (middle name, as it appeared) similarity: La Founta – ____ I can’t give you the full name.
    LaFonda is being La Fallacious.

    Reply
  213. DDT -  June 26, 2011 - 5:13 pm

    “What’s in a name?” indeed. Let me suggest an area for further study: Researching the backgrounds and motivations of those who provided the names of their offspring. Perhaps those who named their child “Katherine” based on its etymology are more inclined to enable Katherine to succeed through whatever social and economic advantages they can. In other words, the name that parents select for their children is an indicator of the level of support and interest the parents are going to invest in the children’s futures.

    Names do carry a perception with them, and this has been known for ages. This is why celebrities change their names. Does Frances Gumm sound as if she would be the winsome girl in “The Wizard of Oz” instead of Judy Garland? Does Archie Leach sound more debonair than Cary Grant? Does Jim Osterburg sound more like a punk rocker than Iggy Stooge? Okay, that last one is stretching it–although “Vincent Furnier” still does not have the shock value that “Alice Cooper” had initially.

    Because of the perceived association of a name, we do have the tendency to prejudge the person based on the name. Don’t believe it? What is the first thing you think of when you hear the names Abdul, Ahmed, or Mohammed? It’s called profiling, and we’re all guilty of it. The trick is to work past it. But it’s still there–it’s all part of the “thin-slicing” we must do to cut through the masses of information to form a first impression.

    I’d suggest that parents who select “status-friendly” names for their children have considered the names’ impact. Thus, this study might have examined the symptom and not the cause. Moreover, 89 names sounds like a very small sample size.

    Reply
  214. Lauren -  June 26, 2011 - 5:00 pm

    I think people’s prejudices on a name would differ between different people and that their views on a certain name will be based on personal experience.
    The effect that name prejudice would have on a first impression would be tiny though.

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  215. Jason Teng -  June 26, 2011 - 4:53 pm

    This is nothing new. There is a whole chapter in “Freakanomics” devoted to the issue of name. Go read it.

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  216. Lafonda -  June 26, 2011 - 4:43 pm

    My name is LaFonda and I’m president of the moon.

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  217. Emerald -  June 26, 2011 - 4:42 pm

    I believe that names have an effect.
    I think that people’s names sort of influence their personalities and the way that they act and also how they are perceived. However, that does not necessarily mean that the way someone is perceived is correct.
    I am at the top of my class. I was simply named because my parents enjoyed the name. I think that you can make anything that you want of yourself and that your future is in your hands. No one else can influence the way that you are, just because of how they see you, especially because of your name.

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  218. April -  June 26, 2011 - 4:22 pm

    I agree with Tim Martin’s comment, which is the only comment I read. What about my name, April?

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  219. Esther -  June 26, 2011 - 4:20 pm

    My neighbor’s name is Pradeep, wonder what that indicates? I also know a guy named Solso…

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  220. Kellie -  June 26, 2011 - 4:17 pm

    ppl shouldnt be judged by their name. some ppl i kno who hav unusual names r really smart/intelligent. like “Kellie” spelled like this is a guy’s name (ima girl) and i hav pretty high grades (A average) this is like saying a girl havin a guys name will fail at life :P

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  221. emma -  June 26, 2011 - 4:10 pm

    There were two boys with the same name in my year, with whom I had gone all the way through school with; one was smart and one was definitely not. At high school we had streamed classes, and the not-smart boy was placed in the top class in error, and the smart boy was in the remedial class. By the end of the year the not-smart boy was making grades as high as everyone else in the class, because the teachers just expected he would be able to do it. Ever since I have been convinced that educators’ perceptions enormously effect students’ outcomes. I presume the same happens with names. Katharine suggests lawyers aren’t named Lafonda: I think that is a common, if grossly judgemental, perception. I wonder if LaFonda with the PhD found that people just expected her to achieve highly academically, or if she had to self-motivate more than Katharinie might have.

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  222. Nitya -  June 26, 2011 - 3:59 pm

    No one has mentioned weirdo spellings yet? Perhaps I missed those entries. In my opinion , nothing denotes lower social status more than the spelling of a name , in an unusual way.

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  223. Jordan -  June 26, 2011 - 2:30 pm

    My name is Jordan. What do you think my name fits with or whatever?

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  224. Elena -  June 26, 2011 - 2:27 pm

    I don’t think that this study is completely correct. Yes, if you give your child an unfortunate name for that particular area (for example, although Muhammad is the most common boy name in the world, in most of the US, you’ll come across few people named Muhammad) they will probably not end up being one of the most popular people in school. Kids are just cruel like that.

    My name is Spanish, although I live in the US and I’m white. So I suppose that makes it a somewhat rare name. But I don’t think my name made me who I am. I made myself who I am, and so did genetics from my family. Because of encouragement from my parents, I am the studious, smart, overachieving person I am today. Because of my friends and observing other people, I have good social skills. Because of being exposed to books, crafts, and art at an early age, I am creative and love art and books.

    That is how it works, in my opinion. You are entitled to your own opinions of course.

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  225. Ellen -  June 26, 2011 - 2:05 pm

    @Ward Kendall:

    (1) Your name is stupid.
    (2) You are an idiot. There is no causal relationship between race and intelligence.

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  226. David Atkinson -  June 26, 2011 - 2:00 pm

    CONFIRMED AT LAST!
    A theory I have held over 42 years of teaching!
    A child with a name that is a) unusual and b) not matched to their ethnic origin is going to be different in some way – mostly but not always showing undesirable traits for the teaching/learning environment.
    It has to be related to parents’ aspirations and backgrounds. What I call ‘The Boy Named Sue’ phenomenon (A well known Johnny Cash song)

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  227. kim -  June 26, 2011 - 1:54 pm

    @kholefilipson: good one
    very educated and wise. i Have never heard anything so intellectual and judicious. and studies show that the arrangement of syllables in your name can afftect how much you weigh. Jk.

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  228. Melissa Hope -  June 26, 2011 - 1:51 pm

    I think people rated names based on their experiences with other people of those names, rather than the names themselves being the driver of someone social status. It’s all perspective but the study was interesting.

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  229. Book Beater -  June 26, 2011 - 1:47 pm

    @Tyler White
    Please turn in your teaching certificate at the desk on your way out.
    It’s no wonder our childern can’t read, or comprehend what they read.

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  230. jon -  June 26, 2011 - 1:46 pm

    @Katherine: you dont even have a sister. your scapegoating an innocent little girl that doesn’t exist….shady

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  231. Stefani Germanotta -  June 26, 2011 - 1:44 pm

    My name is Stefani Germanotta and I changed my name to Lady GaGa. Now I’m a rich Horse Face!

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  232. MollyR -  June 26, 2011 - 1:22 pm

    @Katharine

    I think you’d be very surprised by the number of professionals named Shaniqua and Lafonda. I work with women named Taniesha, Tanee, Akilah, Chanequa, Charity, Ciara, and other traditionally Black names. They all have PhDs and are quite successful.

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  233. Noelle -  June 26, 2011 - 1:17 pm

    A name is a name & it can be changed, so thinking that a name directly correlate with what you will be in the future is preposterous. Your surroundings, opportunities, personality, and experiences determine what your future will be. I agree that a name places judgement upon someone but it doesn’t determine who you will be.

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  234. Just Me -  June 26, 2011 - 12:59 pm

    Wow… Another article that turned into a “Racial-Bash”, YOU PEOPLE are amazing. I feel sorry for closed minded people and even sorrier for your sheltered children (which I have the pleasure to educate). It must suck having the mentality of a white supremacist and seeing so many of your children blending with other races. Pretty soon your grandchildren and nieces and nephews are going to be the object of your hate and disgust. What then?

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  235. Sandra -  June 26, 2011 - 12:53 pm

    I had a friend who grew up as “Candy” short for Candace. In her mid-twenties, she was 5’2″, cute, and pursuing her doctorate degree. Her adviser recommended that she begin going by Candace rather than her nickname in order to help her clients take her more seriously as a professional. It did seem to work!

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  236. james rembert -  June 26, 2011 - 12:44 pm

    In England three-syllable female names that have been used
    in the names of those who became queens of the land like Victoria,
    Katharine or Katherine, Elizabeth and the like are considered either consciously or unconsciously “aristocratic” or of higher class (obviously?) that Tracy, Debi, Kiki and other names ending in “i” or “ie” and the like. Among men names like Charles, Henry, William score higher socially than do Mike, Terry, Buck, Bubba (the last two in the USA of course). By scoring I mean in the opinion of those who qualify as holders of informed opinions by virture of their wide and deep reading, social level that accords them conversationalists with persons of intellect, social and maybe political standing and the like.

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  237. Method of Egress -  June 26, 2011 - 12:38 pm

    The reason so many names have such immediate perceptions by the rest of society is because all names have a meaning. Look up your own name in a name dictionary(a good one!) and see if you’re living up to your name. For instance, the name Nathan translates from ancient Hebrew ‘He gave’ (could be extrapolated into That which He gave, a messenger of God’s will’ and the name William translates from German in two parts as ‘Will, Helm/protection’ (could be extrapolated into ‘defender of will’ or great protector’, etc.).
    Every name has a history(usually a REALLY long one) and that should be addressed before we go around saying that Dakota is going to live in a bad part of town and go nowhere in life while Preston is from a well-off family and will become CEO of a fortune 500 by 17.
    Just saying…

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  238. mary -  June 26, 2011 - 11:41 am

    I think one’s name is very important, but only to the extent that the person honors it. A person’s name is as his or her word. It’s only as valuable as the credence and integrity of the actions behind it.

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  239. Chelsea -  June 26, 2011 - 11:18 am

    First impressions on the name Chelsea? I’d assume most people would instantly correlate my name to famous Chelseas such as Chelsea Clinton or Chelsea Handler.

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  240. Melia-Aneta -  June 26, 2011 - 11:15 am

    I don’t suppose this study carries over well into other (non-Anglo) cultures but would anyone know the equivlant examples in say, the Philippines (my original home)? I.E. are there “smart” Melias and/or “dumb” Melias? LOL…

    Of course not, which is why this is ultimately a diversionary (however conversation-starting or thought-provoking) effort.

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  241. Katherine -  June 26, 2011 - 10:54 am

    Wow, so many Katherines here. I feel like I’m in good company. My name is Katherine, too, and I am very smart and successful. I’m a neurosurgeon in NY, graduated top of my class at Harvard Med. In my spare time I like to play the violin, play chess, write medical detective novels, and solve astrophysics equations. Sometimes I do all of those things at once, because I am so smart! Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!

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  242. Kathia -  June 26, 2011 - 10:48 am

    I’m a Kathia, closely related to Katherine (same Greek root: Katharos (although here they say Katheros for “pure).
    I did go to a private school for one year only because I had a patron. My parents were too poor for that, but I was a total nerd! I loved school, tests and books. I still do. I had to quit college for personal reasons, didn’t come back, but visited the world instead, seeking new adventures. My mom told me that all the Kathias she met were “special” (a little weird I guess), and original. She emphasized on being out of the normal mold. She may be right. if you decompose the phonetic of the name, it has a “k” sound which is harder to the ear, a daring sound. And the rest is soft, but bumpy “Ka-THIa”. While a name like “Sophie” is all softness… This may be a bunch of bullshit to some, but I believe in that. Name makes us who we are (partly, of course), it’s what we hear all our lives and shapes how we’re being perceived and how we perceive ourselves.

    But let’s take some time to imagine what those people who rated those names imagined how successful some names were or just even try to flesh out a personality…
    For me, a Sophie is a sophisticated name, someone sweet and well-mannered, thoughtful and soft. Someone who will have difficulty standing for herself easily.
    While a Doris sounds like a sassy daring name, someone who will not take s*** from someone else and tell you what she thinks.
    No matter what people say, we ARE prejudiced, we all have pre-conceptions of how things and people are. It’s shaped from our own experience.

    As for the article, it is not prejudiced or ignorant, it is based on studies, but I guess not so many people know about onomastics or like being judged on their names. If someone told me Kathias were generally losers, I wouldn’t like it either!

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  243. Brian -  June 26, 2011 - 10:47 am

    @saqooda. Shout out to Kentucky, eh?
    @Jacob AR. Right on.
    I think names fall under the category of “things that don’t intrinsically affect ability but certainly do influence, to some extent, the way other people perceive us and even the way we perceive ourselves.” That’s just how the brain operates; all prejudice is simply an aggregate sum of the experiences we have had with a certain stimulus (the name LaFonda, for example) in conjunction with the “lessons learned” from the associations we make of it (whether our prejudice is supported or unsupported). If every LaFonda we know is African American, and, trying as we will to avoid prejudice, many African Americans that we know, see on TV, or even hear about from economic polls, then we will come to make those implicit associations. I think other aspects of a person contribute just as much as names. For example, I am from Kentucky, and for that reason, many people immediately think of me as an ignorant redneck. Most of Kentucky isn’t really like that, but that’s the image people retain from their experiences or pseudo-experiences with the state. I find this article absolutely true; the fact that many names are popular with certain social strata (Billy Bob) or achieve a particular effect (Scarlett, above) makes them prime candidates for easy prejudice.

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  244. Two_dogs_taking_poop -  June 26, 2011 - 10:40 am

    Names are simply what your parents saw that made an impression on them around the time when you were born.

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  245. Michael -  June 26, 2011 - 10:38 am

    @ “Amber”
    you said:
    “My name is Amber.
    I went to private schools.
    I went to a private college.
    I am studious, I have a good job, etc.
    Therefore, with my information-this proves false.”

    No, it doesn’t prove anything.
    A study like the one described in this blog post demonstrates a correlation. A correlation does not imply cause and effect. It merely demonstrates a consistent relationship between 2 (or more) things.

    If your name is Amber, you’re *more likely* to have a lower educational background than someone named Katherine. In no way does that mean you can not be an exception.

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  246. Michael -  June 26, 2011 - 10:34 am

    I can’t seem to find a link to the original study cited in this blog post.

    89 people is a really small sample for such a study. I’d need to see the actual research methods before “buying in” to this information.

    However, it’s NOT outlandish to accept that one’s first name does, in fact, have potential to influence one’s chances of success in certain aspects of life. For better or worse, one can infer *some* information about an individual’s background based on his/her first name.

    That isn’t racism; it’s (social) science. However, unlike “hard” science, social science has the potential to evolve and change over time. For example, it’s been demonstrated (scientifically) that nowadays if you have a first name with more syllables, especially if that name ends with a vowel, that your parents probably have a lesser educational background compared to someone with fewer syllables in his/her first name or a first name that ends in a consonant.
    However, 20 or 30 years from now, that finding may be no longer relevant.

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  247. Patricia -  June 26, 2011 - 10:27 am

    If you reached down here, congratulations.

    You need to read Freakanomics, John-Boy, Freakanomics.

    And my roommate from a nice college with the name Naa, is now an attorney.

    My degree hangs above the kitchen sink, despite having an entire ‘higher class’ of Romans with my name AND a word that still exists in vocabulary to this day.

    Patricia

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  248. bigsly -  June 26, 2011 - 10:16 am

    The perception thing is real (IMHO) because hearing a person’s name CAN and often DOES put certain thoughts in one’s mind. I really like the names Lamar and Tyrone, and I wanted to name my son one of those – but EVERYONE I mentioned it to (regardless of ethnicity) said the same thing, “Those are black names.” (we went with Dillon) Again, it’s PERCEPTION. Most people expect a person named Lamar to be black, or Jose to be Hispanic, or Katie to be white, or Abdul to be Middle Eastern… and from THAT, they may have OTHER perceptions which will no doubt vary. But perceptions of a person’s status, personality, etc. based purely on name is very different than perceptions based on ethnicity.
    My name is Robert. What did you think of me when I said that? Would it have been different if I said my name was Bob? I’m called Robert, Bob, Rob, and Bobby by different segments of people in my life. I find that when the “Rob” group meets the “Bob” group there is mass confusion, like I’m a different person. “I don’t think of you as a Rob,” is a common comment. Same for my uncle, William. Would you have a different perception of him if he introduced himself as Billy? or Bill? Willy? Dr. William G. Smith, PhD. just doesn’t seem the same as Dr. Billy G. Smith, PhD.

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  249. bigsly -  June 26, 2011 - 10:00 am

    @Japneet – I would only assume you were A) from another country, or B) your parents are from another country… and they used a name from their homeland. But that’s it; since I have never heard of that moniker, I wouldn’t have a perception of WHICH country (India? Indonesia?) or a perception of what you might be like (or even whether you were male or female).

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  250. Nicole -  June 26, 2011 - 9:58 am

    Who’s editing around here??

    Can we please have a link to a source? And, what school(s) were associated with this study?

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  251. Courtney -  June 26, 2011 - 9:36 am

    I think that this article or study is stupid. That is my honest opinion, I am a Courtney and a blonde so people automatically think that i am dumb, but you will never know how smart a person is until you start talking to them and find out for yourself. someone needs to remind the author that you cannot judge a book by its cover( in this case, name)

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  252. Depressing mob of people commenting -  June 26, 2011 - 9:24 am

    And @Phoebe just made @YukonJake’s point. Irony.

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  253. Wrath -  June 26, 2011 - 9:22 am

    The names that we have are being thought by our parents. They gave us those names because they like it, or they searched the meaning of those names to suit their beloved children. Some parents would decide to combine their names, or use their grandparents names to name their children. I could say that it would depend on the generation our parents were born. I mean, my grandparents’ names were kind of old. Felomino, Felomina, Alejandrino and others (foreign sounding names but we’re not really pure though). Next, one of my aunt’s name is Victoria. For my line of generation our names are modern sounding ones, like Viera, Stephen, Jennesse etc.
    And by hearing others names, i really could not tell what status they have in life. I think, some people, whewhen they are in a conversation with someone and a name will be mentioned, a thought would be created. Like; how does that person look like, what job they have and so on. But it would be proven wrong once they know the person.
    We are the ones who make NAMES out of ourselves. Our actions would define who we are.

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  254. Jacob A R -  June 26, 2011 - 9:15 am

    Question: Why does a person’s name cause others to prejudge him in a certain way? And, why do the prejudgements sometimes vary with the person judging?

    Theory 1: Names have inherent qualities because of their sound and/or appearance.

    Theory 2: Names started as randomly assigned. Then each name began to be associated with the qualities of the people to which it had been assigned. Over generations, the associations were reinforced when new parents sought to give their children names with associations that matched with how the parents were planning to raise the child. Storytelling, including epic poems, myths, novels, radio programs, TV, and films, helped in reinforcing associations by exposing their audience to more name-qualities pairings.

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  255. Tracy -  June 26, 2011 - 9:10 am

    This appears to be the most useless prejudiced, crap laden piece of mis-information I have read in a while. My father was Homer, a self made man of intelligence and wit…thrown out by a step mother when he was 13, in order to assure his younger brother Albert (not an Einstein) have his classical music lessons to be a violinist one day. Albert became a country fiddle player, swinger and heavy drinker. HOw is that name thing workin now? Brothr Lyle was a socio-path of the first order.I was Sharon and never resonated to the princess name nor did my life reflect that, although I do hold a college degree and a ministerial degree. I changed my name to one of mly liking when I was in my fifties.
    The prejudice and ignorance in the article and in the responses of readers is overwhelming.

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  256. Torben -  June 26, 2011 - 8:52 am

    its all what people percieve/ project onto a person because of their name. My name is torben, and all the internet people dont know anything about that.

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  257. J.C. Samuelson -  June 26, 2011 - 8:41 am

    The idea that names have any actual (rather than perceptual) influence over a person’s social or economic status is absurd. However, it is might be reasonable to speculate that people of certain social or economic standing might prefer certain names over others, thus imposing a kind of expectation or prejudice upon people having those names.

    But that would be a perceptual effect, and would have less to do with the name(s) chosen and more to do with the (sub)cultural lexicon.

    Either way, it’s frustrating to me that the author of this post didn’t see fit to include a link to the research. All too often scientific research is misrepresented by poor reporting and editorializing, and although it’s possible that the original report is the source of the misunderstanding, I’d like the opportunity to read what the researchers actually said.

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  258. Siouxie -  June 26, 2011 - 8:36 am

    There’s a hint of truth in this article, HOWEVER, I think it also depends on which socioeconomic strata the participants of the survey came from as well. Maybe they’re all from areas where there’s something wrong with the name Amber or Travis? When I think of Travis, I think of a country boy, not a skater. But that’s just me, based on y experience with the name. I named my daughter Amber because my husband and I liked the name. I only know three other girls named Amber, and all are bright and successful in their fields (counselor, graphic designer and artist). My own daughter is an executive who spends her days helping others and she’s happily married to her childhood sweetheart. I think it depends on where a person comes from and their own experiences that affect their perceptions of the names of people. I have names that conjure feelings of mistrust or lowered expectations just because I’ve had negative experiences with people with those names. Ridiculous, but true. I have also been pleasantly surprised to find people quite different from whatever their name itself impressed upon me. But I changed the spelling of my own name when I was 15 because “Susie” sounded too bubble gum and pony tails to me then. Siouxie is neither phonetically correct, nor a name that is serious, but somehow it fits me.

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  259. Katie -  June 26, 2011 - 8:19 am

    My name is Katherine but I go by Katie for short. I had average grades in school. My parents would have sent me to private school but I decided on public. Interesting article.

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  260. Ethel -  June 26, 2011 - 8:18 am

    What I mean is, maybe Samuel got a high rating because of Samuel Jackson, not because he sounds like a doctor.

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  261. Ethel -  June 26, 2011 - 8:16 am

    Personally, I don’t think the survey’s results mean much. 89 people isn’t really enough people when the survey is about the general view on one’s name.

    Also, this article’s assumption is ‘successful’ is college. Many huge celebrities are what I’d say to be as successful as say, a doctor.

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  262. Phoebe -  June 26, 2011 - 7:49 am

    @Yukon Jake. As a person of the generation you have slated as having ‘no real problems’, I would like to offer some examples of the apparently ‘non-existent’ problems, some of which *your* generation has dumped on us. How about the war in the Middle East, the rickety financial status of many countries, and, at least in the UK, reduced opportunities for those who are from not so well off families to improve their situations, due to a decrease in university places and an increase in tuition fees. Perhaps you didn’t think about these because you yourself will not have to deal with them, but please don’t tar an entire generation in the way you have.

    Having said that, I am glad you hold the belief that it it unfair to judge anyone based on their name, even if we do still do it. Please extend this belief to not prejudging a generation that is not your own, as you have little to base your opinion on.

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  263. Jose -  June 26, 2011 - 7:49 am

    Several decades ago attendants at a meeting held after a stock public offering laughed when my name was mentioned. If they saw my current balance sheet, I am certain that they reaction to my name would be quite different. I am also certain that they would not have laughed if my name had been Edward or Edgar.

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  264. maria -  June 26, 2011 - 7:47 am

    how nice issue to trigger a lot of letters full of prejudices of all kinds! Nothing better than having a different name in a sea of ​​endless repetition, marked by the fashion of the moment.
    not my case, I have the most popular Spanish name, Maria.

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  265. Tyler White -  June 26, 2011 - 7:36 am

    HEy i Dont think this is true. i ended up get a PhD in us history and i teach highschool students know and its the best thing i have ever done. names do not count!

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  266. JT -  June 26, 2011 - 7:11 am

    No one has spoken of their experience when they changed their name on purpose because they thought it was bad and they did not want ethnic trash name (sorry to anyone who has it – it’s easy to change).

    So I can tell you that my life changed after I changed my name… I expected positive outcome, but my expectations were increased x10. Whereas no one wanted to deal with me (except losers) now they stand in line to have my business. Bank officers fawn over themselves to have me a a client. But I am the sane person…

    The effect of the name is gigantic, even more than this article describes.

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  267. KWAKER -  June 26, 2011 - 7:04 am

    y’all too smart for your sake.

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  268. Lauren -  June 26, 2011 - 6:41 am

    I think there is substance behind this theory, but only thanks to people in the media. Names do not determine who you are, as it isn’t your choice (unless of course you change it yourself)

    Say for example the name Cheryl. Over here in Britain, it is considered a ‘Chavvy’ name, therefore all Cheyls are chavs, which is absolutely absurd but people will always be prejudiced.

    juging a person on thier name is just as wrong as judging them by race.

    I’m a Lauren, and a lot of people near me would think Lauren is the name of an airheaded blonde (heck even I would if I didn’t know better, I’ve met two other Laurens who fit that description) but I’m nothing like that at all.

    Again, i can see wear these theories come from, but as long as they arent acted upon, thats fine.

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  269. Erika M -  June 26, 2011 - 6:32 am

    In our society to be successful you generally must stay within the “norms”. This includes the name you give your child. The only reason why names are significant is simply because we put some much emphasis on an individual’s name. Take our president for example, because is name is Barrack Hussein Obama people associated him with the Middle East, Islam, and Muslims even though he has no direct association with any of those categories ( people will claim other wise, but lets agree to disagree). If a girl is named Sarah, in American society, she is deemed to be within the “norms”. If a girl is named, LeFonda, she is deemed to be outside of the “norms”. We set these “norms” that we want everyone to be held to, but this leads to intolerance, prejudice, and often racial stereotypes. Truthfully, studies like this which do not explain clearly and concisely what they are trying to convey so that the general public can understand allows for this intolerant judgment to continue. The reason people believe others will score lower in success based on their name is simply because anyone who deviates from the :”norms” of their own society are viewed as people who will fail or because being different equals failure. It’s really that simple. The reason the name LeFonda came out in this conversation is because the girl who mentioned it “Kathrine” mostly like believes that people named LeFonda come from a poor socioeconomic standing, do not care about their education or wouldn’t not be able to live or obtain a higher education or socioeconomic standing. That is her intolerance that she has come to learn. It’s quite disgusting her level of ignorance. This whole study is a disappointment and has too many variables and should be taken down. This type of studies encourage intolerance and prejudice.

    P.S Bloomsburg University is predominantly white, with 79.2% of students being white. So, with this information being said think about the students who participated within this study. This study was most likely only looked at from one point of view and was given to participants who came from a certain point of view. Also, Bloomsburg University has had racial tensions for many different reasons on their campus. In 2008, 3 young men (one man being a Bloomsburg University student) brutally beat a Hispanic man to death. So, truthfully, I don’t believe Bloomsburg University has the diversity enough to even give out studies such as these to their student population.

    I’m a currently a Biopsychology major and I know that my college and my professors would never publish something so reckless. The actually teach us and direct us away from studies such as this or they warn us constantly of the problems that may arise from doing a study such as this one.

    Reply
  270. AMBER -  June 26, 2011 - 6:30 am

    My name is Amber.
    I went to private schools.
    I went to a private college.
    I am studious, I have a good job, etc.
    Therefore, with my information-this proves false.

    Reply
  271. Erin -  June 26, 2011 - 6:19 am

    I suspect this list changes fairly frequently, as names rise and fall in popularity. Names that are more likely to be seen as high-achieving names are probably those that have remained popular in middle-class and upper-class families for generations; I suspect, for example, that Elizabeth would get a similar response to Katherine on this study. But names that were used less frequently in previous decades may be lower on the lists now than they will be in ten years. For example, I suspect Jennifer and Rebecca currently evoke middle-class women between the ages of thirty and forty, with varying levels of education, because those names were very popular about thirty years ago. In twenty years, the view of names like Madison will have changed because there will be a lot more adult Madisons who will have forged their educational destinies.

    Reply
  272. Robo -  June 26, 2011 - 5:46 am

    I think it mostly matters on your parents. Your parents name you, that could have a correlation with how they raise you.

    Reply
  273. sachu -  June 26, 2011 - 5:46 am

    this is really fun…..exciting indeed…..i would like to know about my
    status too……..but after reading the comments i feel like there is some sense in what they are talking about..because in the begining they mentioned only the common names…i wish they would consider the rare indian names also…..
    -well wishes.

    Reply
  274. Sean -  June 26, 2011 - 5:42 am

    A name is what you make it to be. Sure it can have an impact on how others view you and how you might view yourself, a case in point can be found in the song by Johnny Cash entitled A boy named Sue. Sure this is most likely a hyperbolic example but its unequivocal in its message in that it shows that a name can have an impact on an individual for good or bad. Now their are a lot of social dynamics involved and i don’t think they could easily be mapped out and really who would want to do that? But a name in itself is just a name, that is until you as a person give it real meaning. (Ecclesiastes 7:1) The reason the day of ones death is better then one birth is because at death you have had some time to make a name for yourself.

    Reply
  275. Sean -  June 26, 2011 - 5:38 am

    A name is what you make it to be. Sure it can have an impact on how others view you and how you might view yourself, a case in point can be found in the song by Johnny Cash entitled A boy named Sue. Sure this is most likely a hyperbolic example but its unequivocal in its message in that it shows that a name can have an impact on an individual for good or bad. Now their are a lot of social dynamics involved and i don’t think they could easily be mapped out and really who would want to do that? But a name in itself is just a name, that is until you as a person give it real meaning. (Ecclesiastes 7:1) The reason the day of ones death is better then one birth is because at death you have had some time to make a name for yourself. …..I must say this was an interesting artificial.

    Reply
  276. X -  June 26, 2011 - 5:35 am

    This article is really contradictory:

    ‘ a person’s socioeconomic and educational standing may be in direct correlation with a person’s name.’

    BUT

    ‘ researchers point out that a person’s essence, status, and general fatecannot possibly be defined based on the nature of a name alone,’

    AND

    Researchers point out that people of certain social and educational backgrounds prefer different names, surmising that a person’s given name can in fact determine their level of academic achievement. This is not an exact science, but according to the results of the referenced study, certain names tend to correlate with various levels of academic performance.

    AND

    the study also suggests that the results may be relative and that our destinies are not predetermined by our names.’

    This article seems really confused to me- the author doesn’t seem to know whether they are saying that names have a direct correlation to socio-economic status or if it is just that names affect people’s perceptions of others :/ I guess that is the reason for a lot of confusion in the comments.

    Reply
  277. sana -  June 26, 2011 - 5:33 am

    my best friend’s name is Naili.i would like to know how her status could be determined too……:P:P:P

    Reply
  278. sana -  June 26, 2011 - 5:26 am

    okey thats nice…..but i think they should have made a facility to percieve the status of the visitors too…that would be fun and nice to do

    Reply
  279. Jen -  June 26, 2011 - 5:19 am

    I know a child named Ram. He is his name. Go figure.

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  280. Lindsay -  June 26, 2011 - 4:49 am

    Because of TV shows and such, when people hear my name they automatically put me in the ‘dumb blondie’ category, when actually I regularly achieve in the top 2% rating on exams. People can be so prejudiced against names.

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  281. Junfan Mantovani -  June 26, 2011 - 4:37 am

    I should never have named by child Wendel.

    Reply
  282. kusum -  June 26, 2011 - 4:22 am

    i like this topic explain indian names too

    Reply
  283. kusum -  June 26, 2011 - 4:19 am

    im an indian .i also want to know for my name

    Reply
  284. Wanda -  June 26, 2011 - 4:08 am

    Whites score on top because they are in a white system – it is set up to suit their learning styles. “Blacks” are in the white system too – of course they are not going to score on top in a white system.

    Reply
  285. rachel -  June 26, 2011 - 4:05 am

    i think this is very interesting, but I don’t think it really happens much, i think that where you have Katherines and Samuels going to university and Sierra and Dakota dropping out of high school is just about the parents. Parents who would be able to get their kids into top universities would generally be better off, and more likely to want to choose a ‘civilized’ and respectable name, one that is common and not one that you would hear in a context like ‘so-and-so was found in their bedroom, drunk before they even left the house for a party’, although in this case, my brothers friends sister Katherine and her friend Lucy were found passed out with a bottle of vodka when they should have been getting ready for prom. what does this say?

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  286. fusseltier -  June 26, 2011 - 1:41 am

    your name surely does matter when you are trying to get a job or better yourself.
    my brother told me to stop using my middle name and use my first name because it sounds more professional, and it made a big difference in the type of jobs and the level of the position i was getting.

    your name doesn’t prevent you from getting an education, but it has an effect on how people look at or perceive you.

    therefore it matters what your name is when you are trying to get a job or a position of higher than possible with a silly or ridiculous name.

    its the same for overweight people, a thinner, healthier person would get the same job over an obese person.
    but in america, that isn’t supposed to matter since there is “affirmative action” and having a name like LaFonda would get her a job before anyone else anyway because the stereotype would make people think she is a black person.

    in europe it doesn’t matter what you look like, you can have tattoos and piercings, and purple hair and still get a job, because in europe they hire on qualifications and not appearance like in the US.

    when you go for a interview in europe, you do not cut your hair and shave and wear a suit like in the US, because the employer wants to meet you, and not the person you are trying to be that one day and they will never see again.

    when i speak of europe, i do not mean the UK, i mean europe mainland, the UK is not generally considered europe to europeans.

    Reply
  287. katherine -  June 26, 2011 - 1:36 am

    My name is katherine. I was born in the uk and now live in aus. I am in a private school. I have been moved up a year and still getting some of the best results in my class. I want to be a lawyer when I am older. I don’t think that names effect who you are. Only your personality and efforts effect you and your success. I do think however that names give certain appereances in one’s image. As in someone called Billy Joe would give you the appearance of someone who lives in Southern America. The name Margaretgives you the image of a straight A student and very successful or a queen. It is very interesting though to see what people think on this delicate subject.

    Reply
  288. hasini -  June 26, 2011 - 12:48 am

    what do you guys think about “jackie chan, william smith, daniel radcliff”

    Reply
  289. amber -  June 25, 2011 - 11:34 pm

    My name is Amber and I have been accepted to some of the best (Ivy League) graduate programs in the country for next fall. I think names more directly correlate with where you came from, rather than where you are headed. As the first person in my family to go to college, I am proud to see my name, which was, according to “Freakanomics”, the most popular name for girls in the lowest income bracket for the year I was born, on any diploma, certificate or letter of acceptance I receive. Success has much more to do with hard work, talent and personality than anything so superficial as a word used to identify you.

    Reply
  290. Book Beater -  June 25, 2011 - 11:21 pm

    @Yukon Jake
    Take your stinking paws off my internet, you damn dirty ape!

    Reply
  291. pandemo -  June 25, 2011 - 11:02 pm

    My dad was one of four brothers. Robert, the oldest, became an architect, and my favorite Uncle Robbie Bobbie. Dale, my dad, could fix anything mechanical and wound up working for IBM his entire life. Russell, the next, stayed home on the family farm and raised top fruit, (second generation to do so – third one could not find a replacement willing to do all the hard work involved, so the operation looks to be doomed :-( ), fourth was Harold, who became an ordained minister, moving on from there to be an evangelist.

    All four men produced four children each. The children went all over the place, totally disregarding expectations. I’m the only one of the four in my group to finish four year of college. I have raised horses continuously since age 16 and bought a farm at 30.

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  292. Tabby -  June 25, 2011 - 10:43 pm

    The article quotes John Waggoner as saying, ” “Katherine goes to the private school, statistically; Lauren goes to a public university, and Briana goes to community college. Sierra and Dakota, they don’t go to college.”

    My Aunt’s name was Katherine, and she dropped out of high school in 10th grade. I know a Briana that didn’t attend college. And..I know a Dakota that is the smartest person I’ve ever met-he can read a 3-inch-thick book in a day, and he attended college.

    These statistics are based on what people say. Keep that in mind, people. I believe these statistics directly derive from something that has been a societal problem for ages, and continues to thrive relentlessly: stereotypes. Names are identities given to us at birth-which is proof that our names have nothing to do with our academic potential, or our life potential for that matter.

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  293. Shaniqua -  June 25, 2011 - 10:38 pm

    My name is Shaniqua. I think Katharine’s comment is out of line. I received my PHD from Bryson Community College and I’m a local Physician. How do you explain that? Silly girl trix are for kids!

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  294. Laura Nass -  June 25, 2011 - 10:37 pm

    I’m not surprised to see a correlation between “Travis” and lower-than-average performance, but correlation does NOT mean cause-and-effect!

    There is a cultural correlation between class and name, and there is an unrelated correlation between culture and perceived importance of education, just as there is a third correlation between education level and performance. Thus, in a culture that does not place a high importance on education and has “A” as a common name, it would not be unusual to see a large number of people named “A” who are less educated than average, and do not perform as well as the average worker.

    A similar set of correlations can be used to explain why there are so many more male engineers than female engineers. In a culture where men are encouraged to study math and science, and women are discouraged from studying the same, it is to be expected that fields that require much math and science would be packed full of men. It has more to do with culture than with intelligence.

    Reply
  295. The Game -  June 25, 2011 - 10:37 pm

    Problem?

    Reply
  296. JoG@ -  June 25, 2011 - 10:21 pm

    Does this study apply only to English speaking countries?
    If it is not the case, I think it may be improved with a few corrections.
    1) Make 2 different groups, popular and unpopular names. Maybe there could be more groups: Old names, and more modern names (I do no have examples, so please feel free to suggest).
    2) Make the study in different regions. It can be either in the same country or in different countries around the globe.
    3) Take subjects to analyze the names from different social status. Subjects should be more randomly taken, not only college students.
    There are other possible ways to improve this study, but I wonder what would be the reaction of the subjects if their names were similar to those being analyzed. I agree that names easily define a race (my name is Jose). But what I really find funny is that all these people are taking this too personal. By the way we do not have the opportunity to choose our names; it would be better if we could select them. IF WE HAD THE CHANCE TO CHOOSE, HOW WOULD IT BE????

    P.S. I really don’t like my name, but it does not make me a loser. I am Chem student with a gpa of 3.8

    Reply
  297. Sarah -  June 25, 2011 - 10:07 pm

    I dont think that your name has much to do with how your futures going to be, its all just sterotypes really. i think that its more about how your raised and the choices you make in life :)

    Reply
  298. Brittany -  June 25, 2011 - 10:06 pm

    and the term is not “retard” it’s “intellectually disabled,” and that’s not even a correct term to classify levels of intelligence FYI.

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  299. Brittany -  June 25, 2011 - 10:02 pm

    Ward- not true. Whites are associated more frequently with higher levels of intelligence due to the fact that most cognitive assessments are culturally and linguistically biased. Who makes the assessments? Who are the assessments mostly normed on? Those questions we need to ask ourselves before we jump on the “race determines likelihood of higher or lower intelligence” bandwagon.

    thanks.

    Reply
  300. Margot -  June 25, 2011 - 9:49 pm

    I don’t believe the individual Lafona has a PHD from anywhere…. but then again we unfortunately have a president with a name of Barak Hussein so go figure guess any thing is possible

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  301. Kathy -  June 25, 2011 - 9:47 pm

    I must agree with Maddy M.!
    My name is Kathy (which is close to Katherine) and I do really well in school (I have a GPA of over 3.5)
    There’s a girl I know named Dakota, and I know for a fact that she does not do good in school. She’s pretty, but intelligence is not her thing.

    Reply
  302. Arthur -  June 25, 2011 - 9:33 pm

    Whoever thinks that one’s name has no bearing on perceptions and hence no effect on job prospects etc is very delusional.
    Who do you rather be your lawyer? Kiki or Karen?

    Reply
  303. Ace -  June 25, 2011 - 9:27 pm

    @LaFonda with Yale PhD

    Firstly, a PhD in some irrelevant discipline (like race studies or gender studies or Medieval Literature or Ancient Greek Music) does not count.

    Secondly, you are probably in 5 figure debt thanks to this doctorate.

    Thirdly, Affirmative Action probably played a heavy role in you getting into Yale. You should have settled for the free ride at a state university.

    Reply
  304. Name of the game -  June 25, 2011 - 8:52 pm

    “this IS an age where people are becoming more and more accepting of all manner of things, but unfortunately, it is also an age where the masses in general don’t have a cause worth fighting for in their life so they read studies, or blogs about studies, or anything they can get their hands on, listening and reading between the lines for something about which to be offended.”

    Great paragraph.

    Reply
  305. M.C. -  June 25, 2011 - 8:35 pm

    that is kinda weird but my name is Mauricio and wat am i?(boy :P)

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  306. Katherine -  June 25, 2011 - 8:21 pm

    My name is Katherine, I went to public school, and graduated top of my class.

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  307. Eleazar -  June 25, 2011 - 7:53 pm

    Well i think my name really determined the way i lived my childhood. I really think is extremely ugly, which could be one of the reasons why i was so shy during my childhood. I learned to live with it, just at the same moment in my life when my shyness started to fade away, or kind of. So probably there could be a correlation but i think that, like anything in life, it depends heavily on the person.

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  308. The Figure -  June 25, 2011 - 7:39 pm

    Does anybody know where one can find the original study? Is there a copy posted online? I’d love to see the names they used.

    Reply
  309. Hadrian -  June 25, 2011 - 7:09 pm

    89 people. A ‘study’ based on 89 people does not deserve to be (virtually) printed. 89 people. Three elementary school classes. A half empty bar. What a joke.

    Reply
  310. David -  June 25, 2011 - 7:00 pm

    @LaFonda

    I guess your name says it all. Yale not Harvard.

    Reply
  311. RandomPerson -  June 25, 2011 - 6:34 pm

    I meant judge* in the last line…

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  312. RandomPerson -  June 25, 2011 - 6:33 pm

    I don’t care if it’s true or not. People shouldn’t judge you by your name or background or race or even Culture Or RELIGION. IT”S STUPID!!!!!! People should juge you by your acts, decisions and PERSONALITY! THIS IS STUPID.

    Reply
  313. Travis -  June 25, 2011 - 5:54 pm

    Interesting. I have lived in different parts of the U.S. for extended periods and wonder whether or not there is a regional slant to this study. My name is Travis–yes, thanks–and I grew up in the rural deep south. Big surprise, right? I graduated as valedictorian of my high school class, again in the rural south. I then went to a fairly reputable large state university and graduated magna cum laude, also in the south. In addition, I hold an advanced degree in an academic discipline from another state school. That was at a medium-sized state university, and I had similar success there, graduating with a 4.0 grade point average. I even made my way through half of a PhD program (at yet a different state university, this one in the west) with excellent marks before deciding that academia wasn’t for me. So clearly, from my perspective at least, Travises are not rednecks whose chief goals in life are to down a six pack per day and watch nascar.

    But the question of course is not about the objective validity of the idea that one’s name in itself indicates one’s intelligence or capacity for success–it is about whether or not one’s name becomes one’s destiny as the result of OTHERS’ perceptions of what the name indicates. So, of course, in reporting the findings of such a study, it’s kind of important to mention who was asked to rate these names. Who are these “participants,” where are they from, and, by the way, what were their names?

    Just in a very informal, anecdotal, and unscientific way, I’ll say that
    my experience beyond academia, and in large cities outside of the south, midwest, and west–take New York, where I lived for about 5 years–has often been one of feeling that I needed to prove my intelligence and my capacity to achieve goals that fell in line with others’ standards. But there are a lot of variables involved in this scenario, not least of which is that many of the world’s most talented and brightest people encounter one another–as well as the not-so-talented or bright–in New York. I have often attributed what I perceived as others’ perceptions of me as something fixated on my slight southern drawl, but now I see that it could have been something else.

    This was a bit of a ramble, but I hope my point was clear enough.

    Reply
  314. _Rose_MD -  June 25, 2011 - 5:45 pm

    I can’t pronounce judgement on the reliability of this study until I see the raw statistics like p-values and standard deviations. As it stands, I think that the researchers are just trying to call attention to themselves by saying shocking things like “Sierra and Dakota, they don’t go to college.”

    Besides, lets not forget that this study was conducted on 89 undergraduate students – a pathetically small and homogenous population. The results of this study cannot be generalized at all.

    That aside, I think this study could have asked many more interesting questions. For instance, what about names from other cultures? I’d be curious to know how names like Ravi, Kim-Chee, and Jorg are perceived. Now that would be a wicked study.

    Also, success can be defined in so many ways other than academic ability. A name like LaFonda may not make you think of a high achieving student, but might it conjure up an image of a track star? What about a name like Usain [Bolt]?

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  315. will -  June 25, 2011 - 5:42 pm

    A name can point the direction you take in life if you let it.

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  316. LaFonda Laeish I don't care -  June 25, 2011 - 5:40 pm

    Yeah LaFonda, black people have an easier time getting into Yale.

    Reply
  317. Rachel -  June 25, 2011 - 5:29 pm

    This honestly gave me a laugh. Yes I suppose some people will judge others based on what their names are, but if your name is what holds you back from an oppertunity then you probably wouldn’t want to go down that road anyways. This is so ludicris, I can’t imagine how a person could get held back in life due to their name.

    Reply
  318. Archon -  June 25, 2011 - 5:20 pm

    @ Katherineee

    ..and short, snappy, “Thanks for shopping at Wal-Mart” posts don’t make you look dumber and more socially insecure, but they do cut down on the damage!

    @ Tiffany

    It’s “A case IN point,” for your improvement. Otherwise, nice post.

    Reply
  319. Nicole -  June 25, 2011 - 5:00 pm

    I think everyone thinks their name is the best. No one wants to be told that their name dumbs them down any. I’m in agreement with Angela “…I think the article is merely saying that names influence PERCEPTION of a person and their possible achievement. I believe this to be true. All humans make snap decisions of others based on appearance, demeanor, behavior, and name. . .”
    It is an interesting study, but it’s just about perception and what you think when you hear a name – stereotyping. That’s all there is to it.

    Reply
  320. Nobody K. -  June 25, 2011 - 4:31 pm

    Perhaps it strange but I am not associate myself inside with any name…. My name is Ksenja, and I dont feel this name at all, like it’s not really mine. People perceive me like a “pure and sweet”, that’s irk me , cause I have to play a role the people wanna see me in. And there’s always some sweet derivative from my name. I cant say anything against this, cause I dont wanna offend anybody.

    Reply
  321. Mercedes -  June 25, 2011 - 4:29 pm

    My name is Mercedes… I dropped out of college and became a stripper.
    I drive a Mercedes Benz… does that make me successful?

    Reply
  322. to Maddy M -  June 25, 2011 - 4:18 pm

    i know one Madelyn and she definately fits into the catagory of “Dork”. i don’t know you though so i don’t want to be rude and say you are a dork.

    Reply
  323. HAHAHA YOU LOSE!! IN YO FACE!! -  June 25, 2011 - 4:16 pm

    what can you tell about me from my name?

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  324. Dictionary -  June 25, 2011 - 4:16 pm

    As a Dictionary, you’d think I think names are pretty important, which I do. However, I do think that a person has a personality outside a name that may be affected minimally if at all by the name that person was given.
    Other than that, I personally like names with meaning, such as the name Dictionary, which means a book that contains words and their meanings- which is exactly what I am.

    Reply
  325. Tralee -  June 25, 2011 - 4:08 pm

    This is about the question: “Who are you?”
    Or, “Who do others say you are?”
    A very valid inquiry.

    Everything goes somewhere, nothing disappears, not even sound or the perception of sound.

    We know now that: ‘Sticks and Stones will break my bones, and Names can and do hurt me’

    And as it turns out, certain groups of people do choose particular names for their children so that the course of the child’s life is cast wantonly to the perception of others.

    Is the flutter of a butterfly no more than the movement of air beneath it’s wing?

    Names signify and the power of symbol is unquantifiable.

    Px

    Reply
  326. Ella -  June 25, 2011 - 4:04 pm

    my name is ella.
    any ideas what that might mean for me????

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  327. My Name Here -  June 25, 2011 - 3:56 pm

    Not sure how asking 89 people – out of the 300 million or so in the US alone – constitutes a “study” that deserves comment…

    Reply
  328. meichan -  June 25, 2011 - 3:48 pm

    I have read a portion of these posts and it seems that the majority miss the point. Though maybe not stated as explicitly as it needed to be, the point was that parents of various backgrounds (ethnic, social, educational, etc.) are attracted to different types of names. This creates a probability that a Sierra or a Trinity or a Brittany will be born into a certain socio-economic environment and that an Elliot or Harry may more likely to be born into another. While one’s parents’ education and income do not determine a child’s success they definitely effect it.

    It’s not about causation people; it’s called correlation. And while this topic can definitely stray into the dangerous territory of classism and even racism, there is no need to see it as any more than it is – a discussion of a point of interest.

    My husband is Japanese, and in Japan it is very important to use ‘good’ (rare and or eloquent and or beautiful) kanji (symbols) in your child’s name. It denotes not only an educated family, but a strong sense of meaning and imagery within that name. (which may sound the same as another but will have entirely different meaning on paper) The closest analogy we have with English might be, Cynthia, Cindy and Cyndi. Different spellings do effect the way we perceive what that person (or her parents) might be like.

    In Japan, there are some people who shun the use of Kanji in children’s names entirely, opting instead for the phonetic Hiragana alphabet. Again, the spoken name may sound exactly the same, but written down it gives the impression of a lack of education and, arguably, taste, as you have given your child a name with no meaning. That child’s parents may have a PhD from Waseda University; it is the association that counts.

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  329. Katherine -  June 25, 2011 - 3:37 pm

    Wow! this article is stereotypical but in many ways true! heh it’s so lucky I just happened to come across it because I was just writing an essay/report for practice about my name and this is perfect!

    Reply
  330. Victoria-Elizabeth -  June 25, 2011 - 3:34 pm

    I think that people’s names have a great affect on what will happen to them in the future, not because of their own personal will or what they want to achieve, but because of what others think of their name. A lot of people judge others by their names. How many times have you heard someone look at you or a friend of yours and say that they don’t look like a ‘Lucy” or whatever their name is. I can’t even count the conversations I’ve heard where someone thought that another person’s name didn’t fit them. I haven’t studied the nature of names or any of that, but I do think that people have preconceived ideas of what a name should mean based on their society and how they grew up. And if you think about it, most of us choose what we want to be called at some point in our life and therefore choose what others will think of us. How many people out there use to have a little nickname for their name until they decided it didn’t sound professional enough? I know even I refused to let people call me ‘Vickie’ at one point and since then have always been ‘Victoria’ because I didn’t want to be thought of as unprofessional by other people.

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  331. Tristan -  June 25, 2011 - 3:03 pm

    This study focuses on first names, but when it all comes down to it; in the professional world, people see your last name more. I wonder if that has any affect on a persons socioeconomic status and expectations.

    Reply
  332. Kaili -  June 25, 2011 - 2:42 pm

    I taught English in China. I had to name 1200 Chinese elementary students. Some picked their own names. Three of my favorites: God, Chocolatecake, and Window. I insisted that we find new names. I imagined the response that an American university acceptance board would have when looking at two or three pages meant to summarize this child’s existence. What about a job interview?

    I read an article some years ago in Ebony. The author pleaded that black parents not give stereotypically African American names to their children. Why? She said that job interviewers would be less likely to call you back if they were too embarrassed to mispronounce the name.

    The same is equally true of any race. If I, white, name my child JieLi, a common Mandarin Chinese name, expecting that he will spend most of his time in the US, he would have a difficult time simply because not many people would know how to say his name. Why do you think Jack Chan, Jet Lee, and Bruce Lee go by different names. It’s easier.

    In my opinion, having a rare-to-your-own-community, just makes things more difficult. You have to prove yourself. However, once one person really proves himself, the name becomes accessible to all.

    Reply
  333. ole fart -  June 25, 2011 - 2:40 pm

    A lot you you people need to take a refresher course in reading comprehension. It appears as if some may have read things into the article that simply are not there. Read these things with an open mind and try to understand what they are actually saying without your self defensive posturing.

    Reply
  334. Eliza -  June 25, 2011 - 2:37 pm

    Some people’s names can be put into categories, such as ‘smart’, ‘dumb blonde’, ‘prim and proper, and ‘ghetto’. It’s only true that names can go into categories and the person usually fits their name.

    Reply
  335. Preston Wilshire III -  June 25, 2011 - 2:21 pm

    Tsk, tsk… much ado about nothing. As I learned in my early Latin classes, “vestis virum reddit” or for those who don’t know what that means, “clothes make the man.” You CAN judge another by their clothes and you can be smarter because of your name. Your name should have been a thoughtful label for what your parents and you aspire to be. Do not look down on those more fortunate, just rise above it by inspiring your own bad self with self-help books and education. Then, any name, even LaFonda can become a name of influence – but mostly to yourself.

    Reply
  336. D.I. Gray -  June 25, 2011 - 1:57 pm

    Independent of social or academic correlation, I do believe that given names should have some sort of cultural history and meaning, in addition to perhaps taking tradition and current context into consideration.

    If you just “make up” a name from arbitrary sounds because you like the sound of it or give a child a name like “Sincere” (I’ve seen girls being given that name), you might be forgetting that it is what they will be known as FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES, even if they take recourse to going by a middle name or nickname generally. The child does not deserve to be held responsible for her parents’ foolishness.

    When parents, especially mothers, give babies absurd names, it reflects on the parents as having poor judgment and horrible consideration for the future. The silly name reflects poorly on the child for the rest of her days without any real choice of her own and is ultimately selfish on the part of parents, whether they did so thoughtlessly or to “make a point” for whatever reason.

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  337. Lillia -  June 25, 2011 - 1:43 pm

    I wonder what category my name (Lillia) goes into? I have no idea, because statistically, less than 1 person in 12,500 is named Lillia, and I’ve only met one other, my great-grandma. Then there’s also the fact that no one knows how to say my name. Lily-ah, not Lil-A-ah.

    Reply
  338. wjsharon -  June 25, 2011 - 1:43 pm

    Perception, perception, perception.
    Shows how easy it is to Miss Thematter.

    I was born in the 40s. Sharon was a very popular name — and common. But I grew up feeling myself to be bright and quite capable – more so than some, less so than others. It had nothing to do with my given name, but how I was treated and what was expected of me. I consider my endeavors to be successful – happiness being top of the list.

    I named by children with strong names … I didn’t know I was supposed to … we just felt comfortable doing it. They are all very successful and happy, as are their children.

    My sister, however, at the age of 70, is still playing around with her’s.

    That being said, if a resume crossed by desk with the name Jim-boy on it, I would wonder about his abilities.
    Let’s face it — and it’s proven here — we are a very prejudiced society … names, color, religion, dialect, whether one carries Payless bags or Louis Vuitton — someone will be making a mental note.

    — A rose by any other name …

    Reply
  339. Kelly -  June 25, 2011 - 1:32 pm

    The name doesn’t actually change a person’s intelligence or character, but it might reflect the background of the person (which is what is actually influencing them).

    Just try looking up your name or your friends’ names on Urban Dictionary sometime. The chances are the descriptions won’t match your personalities at all.

    Reply
  340. Petunia -  June 25, 2011 - 1:21 pm

    If you name your child Barbie, Bambi or Bunny, you probably make other bad choices that will lead the child away from success.

    Reply
  341. Petunia -  June 25, 2011 - 1:15 pm

    Who would you prefer to do your brain surgery, a doctor named Katherine or a doctor name LaFonda?

    I bet most of you think affirmative action (pretending that inferiors are equal) is great for brain surgeons, as long as the surgery is on someone else’s brain.

    Reply
  342. gracey -  June 25, 2011 - 1:13 pm

    really doesnt matter what you guys say. It’s troll’s comment that matters anyway

    Reply
  343. Justin Miller -  June 25, 2011 - 1:07 pm

    To Ward Kendall:

    I am in no way hostile to your argument, but I am skeptical. The studies you refer to do not demonstrate causation – there are too many confounding variables. For brain scans performed on adults, lifestyle experiences are known to alter brain structure and function via brain plasticity. Thus, differences can not be proven to be a result of genetics. However, even with infant studies, the conditions to which an individual is exposed in the womb can influence cerebral development.

    Moreover, and most significantly, the differences that are actually a result of race cannot be measured on a simplistic scale of positive versus negative intelligence, for the intellectual abilities to which one race may be predisposed will almost certainly be counterbalanced by another ability at which that race is disadvantaged.

    The truth of the matter is that intelligence will always be, to some extent, an arbitrary measurement.

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  344. A -  June 25, 2011 - 12:16 pm

    My name is Timothy Fitzgerald Young, Jr. Now try guessing my race and achievement.

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  345. LaToya -  June 25, 2011 - 12:04 pm

    I’ve noticed that there are a lot of Katherines commenting on this article. Just an interesting fact.
    In my opinion, a Katherine would be rich, a Catholic, a snob, (but a smart one), and she’d probably attend a private school. A LaFonda, on the other hand…Well, I think you know what I mean.
    Our perceptions are largely influenced by media, and what we believe is formal and informal. Like Katherine, for instance. Katherine sounds a whole lot more formal to many of us than LaFonda doesn’t it?
    Pretend that I’m named Ashley Robertson. What would you think of me?
    Pretend I’m name LaNeesha Lamar. NOW what do you think of me?
    I think this way of thinking and perceiving not only names but other things IS slightly prejudiced. But once we have this type of mentality, we automatically think this way. It’s already in our system, and it’s already a habit.
    I guess this comment is a whole lot of rambling on my part, but whatever.
    Oh, and one more thing. When you see my name, it’ll automatically make you read my context in a certain way. You know what I mean?

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  346. Julie -  June 25, 2011 - 12:04 pm

    This article states nothing new. The same premise was made a few years ago in the book Freakonomics……. and they had more than one research study to prove that your name is related not just to the perception of your status but the actual status of the parents who named you.

    And of course there are exceptions. That is the nature of statistics like this. However, it is ridiculous on here for anyone to argue that we judge people without any preconceptions. According to socoiologists, we must have stereotypes (like what your name means about you) in order to navigate the world. If we had to approach each new situation, biuilding, animal,person, etc. without a stereotype to help us understand what to do we’d go crazy, behave without regards to social norms, or even be in danger.

    Names matter….. but I still like Amber!

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  347. ChristinaAnn -  June 25, 2011 - 12:02 pm

    I’ve noticed that there are a lot of Katherines commenting on this article. Just an interesting fact.
    In my opinion, a Katherine would be rich, a Catholic, a snob, (but a smart one), and she’d probably attend a private school. A LaFonda, on the other hand…Well, I think you know what I mean.
    Our perceptions are largely influenced by media, and what we believe is formal and informal. Like Katherine, for instance. Katherine sounds a whole lot more formal to many of us than LaFonda doesn’t it?
    Pretend that I’m named Ashley Robertson. What would you think of me?
    Pretend I’m name LaNeesha Lamar. NOW what do you think of me?
    I think this way of thinking and perceiving not only names but other things IS slightly prejudiced. But once we have this type of mentality, we automatically think this way. It’s already in our system, and it’s already a habit.
    I guess this comment is a whole lot of rambling on my part, but whatever. :)
    Oh, and one more thing. When you see my name, it’ll automatically make you read my context in a certain way. You know what I mean?

    Reply
  348. Ben -  June 25, 2011 - 11:59 am

    One of my best friends is named Cielo. It’s spanish for sky. Knowing that, guess what kind of person she is. Did you imagine a sweet little hispanic girl. If you did, you were wrong. She’s a guitarist in a punk-rock band. This just shows how meanings can influence what you think a person might look or act like.

    I also agree with anyone who says the Lafonda could be a doctor. If you need proof, just look at the president. What if Obama hadn’t run for office? What would you rate Barack? Nowadays, you’d probably give it a 10. This proves that past and present people can set precedent for what someone with that name should be like.

    i.e. I don’t think that anyone will want to name their kid Adolf anytime soon.

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  349. Simone -  June 25, 2011 - 11:54 am

    Although interesting, this article is misleading since the names and successes are simply a correlation. If you look at socioeconomic trends, upper class, coincidently pushing their children into private universities and such, tend to have a different set of popular names within their groups. These names eventually trickle down to everyone, regardless of socioeconomic standing. Take for example, Ashley. So if this article had been written when that name was still in the most educated circles, and such, it would have had a different outcome in the list than it does now.

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  350. Dieter Simon -  June 25, 2011 - 11:50 am

    Amber? Amber was the girlfriend of H.G. Wells, the writer, she taught me psychology many years later ago at college as an old lady in her Seventies, still full of life and intelligence. No reflection on her name here then.
    Sheila was an old-fashioned Australian expression for “girl” or “woman”, any “girl” or “woman”, again without reflection on her intelligence either.
    My name is Dieter, German-born but having lived in the UK for sixty years, and not particularly thin.

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  351. Yukon Jake -  June 25, 2011 - 11:20 am

    People are interesting and depressing at the same time.

    Ward, rather simply states the science of the matter, providing for exceptions from all sides and backgrounds, and quotes a decade long, monumentally complex, interdisciplinary endeavor as evidence. Completely fair. Yet for speaking, he’s been called an asshole, a bigot, a dinosaur, and a racist xenophobe. And this for merely quoting fairly irrefutable science.

    @troll – this IS an age where people are becoming more and more accepting of all manner of things, but unfortunately, it is also an age where the masses in general don’t have a cause worth fighting for in their life so they read studies, or blogs about studies, or anything they can get their hands on, listening and reading between the lines for something about which to be offended.

    We have embraced “social justice” in equal proportions to our diversion from “wisdom.” All the errs of our collective past do not justify abandoning reason and sound judgement for fear of a generation of people whose idea of suffering is their internet connection is down, getting their feelings hurt simply because they have nothing better to do, and no real cause in their life worth defending.

    It is no more wise to “judge” the intelligence and character of Ward based on his reference to the Human Genome projects findings, than it is to assume LaFonda is on welfare because of her name.

    Both statements/stances are pure foolishness.

    Reply
  352. Kat -  June 25, 2011 - 10:41 am

    My name is Katherine

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  353. poop -  June 25, 2011 - 10:40 am

    hi

    Reply
  354. perry -  June 25, 2011 - 10:32 am

    This article is about the perception of others. Did any of you read it?

    Reply
  355. Emily -  June 25, 2011 - 10:25 am

    Are names actually important? Do they have the power to affect other’s perception of you? I have to ask; would you expect Bubba to fix your mortgage rate, or your automobile?

    Reply
  356. Queen Sardonic -  June 25, 2011 - 10:24 am

    Personally, I don’t like this article. I don’t think this is a reliable way of judging people’s academic and socioeconomic statuses. My name is very uncommon, and may not be associated with intelligence or success, but I’ve always been one of the top two or three people in my classes. Names don’t reflect or predetermine your life, they’re just an aspect of who you are.

    Truly, I think these studies were COMPLETELY biased. The private school, high-ranking names, such as Katherine, are typically associated with white, upper class people. However, the public college Lauren is more of a ‘country’ sounding name, which typically leads to thoughts of Southern inferiority, and the community college Briana is probably thought of as an African American name. I’m not saying these are set in stone, they are merely speculations. But I DO think that our opinions on other races influenced and clouded the clarity of this study. The lowest ranking name, Travis, is probably most commonly thought of as a cowboy’s name, not the name of a highly intellectual man.

    This article was also probably a downer for those with low ranking names. I am shocked by how opinionated this article sounds and how it induces superiority and inferiority among its readers, although names don’t have much to do with success, it’s just whom we associate those names with that makes us decide who’s ‘better’. This article is definitely NOT of dictionary.com’s usual caliber.

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  357. Emily -  June 25, 2011 - 10:18 am

    Wow, a lot of hot and bothered people on this one. :P

    I think the article talks about social perception and I don’t think it’s at all bad. I studied linguistics, and one of the first things that we learn is that we’re DESCRIBING language, not PRESCRIBING. There’s a huge difference. And I think that plays in here. They looked at and described social perceptions of names like Amber and Katherine. We all have different opinions about each name based on memories of people we know with those names, but this studied society as a whole. And society as a whole says that the name Katherine makes them think of someone very studious in a private school. They’re not saying that a LaFonda can’t have a PhD. Merely that social experience as a whole would not drive us to “PhD from Yale” when thinking of a LaFonda. Good for anyone for getting a PhD, despite what their name is.

    So the article is describing perception. It’s not saying that, hey, because your name is Amber, you’ll never rise above fry cook. Just that we don’t get a mental picture of a bank president when we hear the name Amber. And I think this happens all the time. You know, you meet someone and they tell you their name and you’re like, “Yes! You totally look like a Roger!” It’s our perception of the name coinciding with the appearance or character of someone with that name.

    I liked the article, when taking it from an educational, light-hearted, descriptive stance. If you take it too seriously and demand that, “My name is Amber and I’ll rule the world and show everyone!” you’ve maybe taken the article without enough salt. :D

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  358. Ruth -  June 25, 2011 - 10:14 am

    JK Rowling

    Reply
  359. Kristina -  June 25, 2011 - 10:14 am

    My name’s Kristina and I feel like a Kristina, a bit quirky, witty, eccentric, and silly. If I had been born Christina I’d probably have changed the spelling myself. Perhaps there is substance to this name stuff afterall.

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  360. Amanda -  June 25, 2011 - 9:50 am

    @Kathryne

    I believe it’s more opportunities,or well family support. I don’t mean to be a sterotype, but my parents have little education and gave very little support to me. My dad only graduated from high school (he lived in a communist country as a child and didn’t even go to school there,as the smarter people were shot like my grandfather- he had an education in that country, and was shot because they feared a tactical rebellion) he came to America around age 12 and worked a paper route to buy his Atari game system and jukebox. When high school came around, problems came up. He had very little english understanding and was bullied. To make matters worse he had adhd. He said he only graduated because the principal wanted to get rid of him, and truthfully I believe that. My mom had an asian-communist-controlled elementary school education, so I have little help from my parents.

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  361. Shaniqua -  June 25, 2011 - 9:46 am

    Yoyoyou like i dunno wat yos talking about. i shaniqua and i aint have no prablems . i gunno go gets me a low degree and soo people and thangs like that.

    Reply
  362. Amanda -  June 25, 2011 - 9:35 am

    And I’m an asian-american! (Sadly the only asian out of our two classes.)

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  363. Amanda -  June 25, 2011 - 9:32 am

    My name is pretty normal,but others may disagree with my personality. I’m not that successful, just my smarts are a bit above average for my age- 11. I’m sorta gifted but bad at math,not failing, sometimes just barely passing, over achieving or just plain OKAY. I like to read, but sometimes not in the mood for reading. Would YOU have guessed that from my name?

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  364. saqooda -  June 25, 2011 - 9:25 am

    I was out in a rural part of Kentucky recently, and I met a guy named Randy Spanks. Until now I haven’t been able to get over how certainly apropos it seemed that he had that name, considering who he was and where he lived. I must admit, he was quite the character and was pretty much the epitome of what a person would imagine someone with that name to be.

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  365. Tiffany -  June 25, 2011 - 9:21 am

    @Ward Kendall – Uhm, wow! Ignorance lives on . . . first of all – get it out of your small pea-sized mind that there is more than one race. There is only ONE race and it is known as “HUMAN!” Now that we have that clarified – it is ETHNICITY that you are trying to refer to. And it does NOT determine intelligence! There are MANY factors that determine it and how far, how effectively, and quickly it can be developed (i.e., presence, quality of, or lack of critical resources). These things include genetics (nothing to do with ethnicity), access to healthier dietary choices, medical care in general, pre-natal care, safety of home/community environment (prolonged stress destroys and alters!), income to afford these things, educational resources that develop rather than squash or squander. Resources or lack there of reaps the same results across all people groups – no matter that ETHNICITY! @Troll – THUMBS UP!

    Now – to my thoughts on the article. It is absolutely 100% true that names are used as one of the many means we humans use to form opinions and corroborate or adjust perceptions. Whoever says that we don’t is kidding themselves. By the sound of my name – people all the time assume even what race I am or should be, how old I am, and who knows what else about me. Is that wrong? No. Is it reality that this is done? Yes. Can perceptions/opinions – good or bad or indifferent – be changed or altered once people acquire additional information about me? Yes. It is only wrong when, in the weight of new and clearer evidence, good or bad, when those doing the perceiving insist on holding onto preconceived notions about an individual, or – even when information is limited – refuse to give the object of their assumptions a chance. For example – throwing out the resume of a woman named Shaniqua despite the fact her resume and (if you bother to call) her references tell you she is at least a potential candidate and at the most, fits the requirements for your company AND the position to a “T”.

    The article also bears plenty of merit in that social-economic status OFTEN DOES play a role in how parents name their children. How many upper-class people do you know will name their child Cheyanne, or Dakota, or Darryl, or Tyrone, or Ebony? There is a better chance that lower to middle-economic classes would name their children Catherine, Samuel, Emily, or Alexandria. A case and point about how serious the affect of a name on the status of a person: – it was understood that when Kate Middleton wed Prince William – she would no longer go by the nickname of “Kate”, but would forever more now be “Catherine.”

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  366. Scarlett -  June 25, 2011 - 9:12 am

    I have always been a firm believer in the fact that your name directly affects who you are and where you go. My mom named me Scarlett. She did it because (1) It is feminine but has hard consonants so men will take me seriously in the business world. It has been proven that most women with names that are “too” feminine do not make it very far because their names make them sound weak. She also piked this name because in the movie Gone With The Wind, Scarlett O’Hara was a strong, independent woman. Names can define who you are. Great article.

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  367. Japneet -  June 25, 2011 - 9:09 am

    My name is Japneet, and I am an Indian. I am quite curious to know what people outside of India would think about me just from my name. What does it sound like to you guys?? Please let me know. :)
    And also, please tell me what you guys think about people with very common english names like John, Jack, Julie, Mark, Joey, David, Antony, etc…
    Thanks. :)

    Reply
  368. Book Beater -  June 25, 2011 - 9:04 am

    While a study of 83 people is beyond meaningless. It takes no genius to know that humans act on their preconceptions.
    If you give your kid a stripper name don’t be surprised if they grow to be a stripper, be surprised if they grow to be a chief justice.
    The name you give to them will affect how they perceive themselves, as well as how the world perceives them.

    Reply
  369. Bob Beazley -  June 25, 2011 - 9:01 am

    ” A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

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  370. Anshuli -  June 25, 2011 - 8:48 am

    @troll simply the best :)
    grow up people(nutheads) before commenting try to comprehend the meaning of this article.
    @Mr.Wandall Genome project or whatever…east has always made west to hold up there trousers tight…blacks what do u mean by blacks if blacks are so useless then why are whites always trying to justify their superiority?? Or are they trying to assure themselves. Better accept it. With no brains and low population growth rates you are a soon to be extinct race. So good for you if you live peacefully and amiably with other races.
    Better late than never.
    P.S your name does sound like a villan from childrens comic strip :)
    j.f.k:)

    Reply
  371. Luck in W -  June 25, 2011 - 7:42 am

    I think I’d end up a loser in the “name” game, at least in the English-speaking countries.

    My nieces are Kathryn, Kristyn, Anika, Savannah, Miriam, and Lucy. I wonder what that says about them. Kathryn is probably the least intellectual of the first three, though she’s been high school president and been active in causes that help others.

    I’ll have to wait a little bit longer to find out about the second group. They have to do a little more growing up.

    My siblings and I have somewhat weird names. My younger siblings’ names were chosen with a specific criterion in mind: they had to be pronounceable in both English and the country our family came from.

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  372. James -  June 25, 2011 - 7:20 am

    I don’t think the British Royal family would choose names like Wayne and Craig for their heirs.

    Reply
  373. Hunter S Tomboy -  June 25, 2011 - 6:06 am

    Sierra and Dakota (and Amber & Sapphire) are strippers… working their way through their undergrad in psychology or sociology.. of course.

    Reply
  374. katherineee -  June 25, 2011 - 5:50 am

    uh long paragraphs doesnt make u look any smarter;;
    pshh lol

    Reply
  375. Valerie Douglas -  June 25, 2011 - 4:48 am

    One thing this does leave out… perhaps the reasons why the names Amber, Britney, etc. could be at the bottom of such lists, while names like Katherine are the top. Those first two names were ‘trendy’ at one time, so much so that they became almost generic. My own name was virtually unheard of while I was growing up, while my twin sister’s was so common that if you called it in the school hallways ten heads would turn. Choosing a trendy name for your child robs them of individuality, shows a lack of imagination and a tendency to be influenced by trends, while choosing a more uncommon name indicates the opposite – both for the child and the parents.

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  376. britneyspearsiscool -  June 25, 2011 - 4:43 am

    Names are only part of what decides your social or academic success like if your name was amber or crystal and you were really ugly then you would still be pretty unpopular because people would judge you negatively. And unless your parents forced you to do well you would probably have low self esteem academically because likewise named girls are broadcasted as prostitutes and stuff like that.
    I have a really uncommon name and I’ve always felt a bit like an outsider. All the popular girls I know have girly names though.

    Reply
  377. O Emary -  June 25, 2011 - 4:21 am

    I think this makes sense. The social status of parents often influences their choice of name for their children. As we know the success of parents has a massive correlation with the success of their children. Therefore there will be a tentative link between names and success.

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  378. Amanda -  June 25, 2011 - 3:34 am

    I don’t understand why people are getting so upset over this. . . the article is not saying that your name directly affects how successful you are. It is saying that someone’s first impression of you can be based on your name. Like if I think of someone named Hannah, I think of someone sweet and caring. If I think of someone named Dakota, I think of someone with a fiery spirit. Not to say that those are usually correct, it’s just the first thing I think of. My name is Amanda, which I consider to be a plain name, and I think I am a pretty common person. So names do relate to different stereotypes, but they are not always right.

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  379. Nate -  June 25, 2011 - 3:03 am

    regarding Lafonda.. PHD… googled it couldn’t find any PHD with that name and also Yale alumni… so there u go .. besides i was gonna say without lowering standards (affirmative action) most ivy leage schools are going to have Asians and whites and only maybe couple blacks ..

    Reply
  380. The Figure -  June 25, 2011 - 2:17 am

    Names – fascinating indeed!

    Let’s look at the examples: Samuel and Katherine are both names that can be shortened. Sammy and Katie. Sam and Kate. Katherine could even go as Kat. Amber and Travis, on the other hand, can’t really be shortened. Trav? I don’t know about that one. So Samuel and Katherine have the edge there. Also, I think that because Samuel and Katherine can be shortened, the names Samuel and Katherine sound more formal, whereas Amber and Travis don’t sound as formal (or professional). Does this mean Ambers and Travi can not be professionals? Of course not; they can be professional, they may not appear to sound as professional as their more formally-named counterparts.

    It’s interesting that Sierra and Dakota don’t go to college. When I think of Sierra, I think of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. When I think of Dakota, I think of the states North and South Dakota. So would one then want to avoid naming a child after a feature in the United States? Perhaps naming children after places like Carson, Cheyanne, Carolina, Virginia, and Madison, or naming children after things found in nature such as Rocky, Rose, Willow, Autumn, Spring, Gale, and Brooke, should be avoided?

    I understand what DianA is talking about with her list of no-nos. The names conjure up bad images. The list will be very personal, based largely on life experiences. My list includes names like Chastity, Rod, Serenity, Tony, Destiny, Jesse, Liz, Rob, and the names sarah palin chose for her kids.

    :)

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  381. jonathan -  June 25, 2011 - 1:49 am

    Judging people by their names is no different judging people by their race, religion, blood type or financial standing. As Shakespear once stole of another person and said.”A roses by any other names would smell as sweat”.
    It’s not what people call you it’s what you choose to do with you life. If you named every person in the world, “Shaniqua”, boy and girl, some would become doctors, others laws or even stay at home parents. Who konws?

    Besides I was teaching a class on the meanings of names and did you know public opinion to the names in the west change every half a century, (roughly), becuase of the changes in are culture and the infulences from others.

    Reply
  382. troll -  June 25, 2011 - 1:40 am

    @ Ward Kendall

    Thumbs up, Voltaire is the definition of satire! Candide is one of my favorite book.

    I love the big words you used and how you try not to be prejudice. Love it. Awesome on the cited source also (The Human Genome Project).

    I don’t have a way with words like you do, I never wanted to be a politician so be careful reading. I’m going to try to condense and be as coherent as possible.

    Since you to like categorize in a hierarchical fashion. Bend over, Asians are behind you with the big intelligence factor if you know what I mean…

    My thoughts aren’t as screwed as yours. I see the game rock, paper, scissor when I generalize about ethnic groups. Someone will always surpass me mentally, physically, emotionally and I accept that…Take me for example, I’m one hundred percent, w/o a doubt younger than you by a lifetime. I don’t know if you ever heard of the game called evolution that goes from left to right. You seen the t-shirts for it, dinosaurs on the far left and modern humans on the far right. Well, my generation is about progression and understanding of others as a whole. Your racial P.O.V. of others is about to go EXTINCT like the T-Rex that you are.

    Like your quote says, “There are truths which are not for all men, nor for all times.” Seriously though, take the blindfold that cover your eyes. You have been wearing them far too long sir.

    T.T.Y.L.,
    troll

    Reply
  383. Archon -  June 25, 2011 - 12:09 am

    @ Colin

    Were you referring to Justin Miller’s post? By the time I got here there was no reference to any university, perhaps it had been edited out, so I don’t know what you saw or entered into Google. I plugged “Bloomberg U” into the Bing search engine on the MSN home page and immediately got back the spelling-corrected listing for Bloomsburg U. in Bloomsburg, PA. I guess some search engines are smarter than others.

    Reply
  384. millie -  June 25, 2011 - 12:08 am

    It’s whole another story here in China. We can invent new names without reference to what’s popular or what’s smart. But people do tend to have similar names. There are some certain words reserved for a boy’s name, such as”Jie杰”, which is similar to Jake or Jack I guess. “Jie” itself means being extraordinary. And parents probably put a “Jia嘉” before “Jie” to wish their son a merry and happy life.
    Names can, of course, reflects the person’s family background. Well educated parents or grandparents select poetic words from traditional classics, while those of working or lower working class parents place their material pursuit on their children by naming them with words menaning silver or gold.
    P.S. My last name is Tan.

    Reply
  385. Dani -  June 24, 2011 - 10:23 pm

    Read Freakonomics and things will surely be put into perspective.

    Reply
  386. Katherine L -  June 24, 2011 - 10:21 pm

    I find this very amusing, as I’ve actually used this very thing in my writing. For the curious, I have my BA in Interdisciplinary Studies (English/Psychology), but at this point in time I am by no means what I’d call successful. I have two jobs and can’t even afford to mover out of my parents’ house yet!

    All that aside, names do play an important role, especially because of their connotative meaning. Just to use my name again, I typically go by Kate, since (to me, at least) Katherine is simply too formal for the kind of person I want to present myself as. I do use my full name in interviews and on resumes, for the simple fact that it looks nicer. When I’m working, however, I use my nickname, since Kate is friendlier and more approachable than Katherine. Not to mention more fun. When I was younger, I went by Katie, considered quite childish and innocent. Heck, in college, I even went by Kay for a while (that didn’t last long though). Each name says something different, even if I’m the same person.

    Reply
  387. Kathryne -  June 24, 2011 - 10:05 pm

    My name is Katherine with a unique twist. Do different spellings effect the results? (Must research this now.)
    Regardless, I carry the name Kathryne and I’m going to the top high school in the United States. I seem to recall, however, a study that showed that names don’t effect who you are. It’s simply that a family with, say, more college graduates (like mine – doctors, lawyers, and judges, the lot of them) is more likely to name a child an ‘old’ name, such as Katherine. I myself am named for my grandmother.
    Also, ethnicity counts. I’m sorry to bring it up, but Ward Kendall is correct – whites are shown to score higher. Whether it’s more opportunities, genetics, who knows, but there’s the numbers. Thus, a black family that takes pride in being black (and not in having a long history of success) might name their child Jesnasha, whereas a family like mine (cornbread whites) will tend toward ‘Katherine’, ‘Sarah’, and the like. Does Jesnasha scoring below me mean that ‘Kathryne’ makes me successful? No. It’d be the same if our names were reversed; it’s all about upbringing.
    This study is irrelevant and a waste of people’s time and money. Shouldn’t we work on something else . . . like getting all the ‘Amber’s and ‘Travis’s scores up?

    Reply
  388. kimyia -  June 24, 2011 - 10:05 pm

    i had a friend.her name meant “sweet”.at 1st it was cool.now that i got to know her i feel she was a vomit person.
    i’m from iran.kimyia means “rare.tricky.noble” i like my name.i’m 16.i’m not top,i’m a good student.but at times i get depressed or sad reminding my self i’m destenied to make a change in the world ,helps me.it may sound stupid but it works.the common name in iran is fatemeh.

    Reply
  389. don123 -  June 24, 2011 - 10:04 pm

    i dont think that is true at all

    Reply
  390. Slimasatwig -  June 24, 2011 - 10:02 pm

    @ Ward Kendall:

    Well put.

    @ everyone:

    I wonder how names like Bertha, Arlene, and Astrid would hold up?

    Reply
  391. Tammy McVey -  June 24, 2011 - 9:49 pm

    My name is Tammy. Yep…it plays a role in how people look at me.

    Did you guess I am blond??? Bet you did. Did you guess I am smart??? Bet you didn’t.

    I tried hard to NOT give my children names that would set them on the path of community college.

    But, 1st child had a graceful name and choose to go with a nickname. We will see how that goes as she gets older. The other child I did better, a name without a nickname….a strong name.

    We will see.

    Reply
  392. gnimdo -  June 24, 2011 - 9:43 pm

    Ward Kendall is an ignorant dickhead who should apologize for what he said. If he ever talks like that again I will find him and show him which race is stupid.

    Reply
  393. gnimdo -  June 24, 2011 - 9:34 pm

    Do you think that names you never heard of need an expectation so people can judge?

    Reply
  394. Christina -  June 24, 2011 - 9:33 pm

    *Angela and JR
    Not Angela and Tim.
    Apologies.

    Reply
  395. Christina -  June 24, 2011 - 9:32 pm

    Angela and Tim, I completely agree with you.. Some people need to come off it and realize what the article is actually saying instead of acting like it is an attack on their character.. It’s ridiculous.

    Reply
  396. Davis -  June 24, 2011 - 9:17 pm

    @Angela, I believe your observation is spot on! Preconceived ideas many times affect behavior and expectation levels, even though they are not know to be true. However, I would take this one step further and contend that your name COULD affect your socioeconomic status due to other people’s preconceived notions. For instance, if an employer is partial to hiring women, and woman with a gender-neutral name such as “Taylor” applies for a job at his company, but the name carries a male connotation for the employer, it could affect his decision on whether to hire that woman. I think it could also work this way with names that carry racial connotations or bring to mind negative experiences.
    I also would like to suggest the possibility that perhaps the correlation between socioeconomic status and names stems not from one’s self or his peers, but from his parents. My theory, though I have no data to back it up, is that someone who is socially or economically prestigious would be more likely to name his child a name that carries a connotation or denotation of prestige or strength. This might explain why some names that have carried weight throughout history still maintain that status and popularity among the wealthy and powerful today. However, the commonality of these names could make any statistics taken on this subject less concrete. The more common names would have a higher probability of a person with that name being prestigious.
    Just thought I would throw this out there and poke your brains a bit. Enjoy!

    Reply
  397. james -  June 24, 2011 - 9:13 pm

    @lafona M.D.

    They were talking about LaFonda you fake!

    Reply
  398. Kamen -  June 24, 2011 - 9:11 pm

    I would agree with the idea that names might alter the perception of one’s potential. I believe, however, that this perception is largely based on one’s association of the name at hand. My roomate, Travis, is a 4.0 student whom I see as high achieving. Thus I would have placed the name close to a 10, not between five and six as the average indicates.

    It makes sense to me that this article has exceptions, such as LaFonda, a name I would not previously have associated with a doctor. The biggest error one could make is to assume this article encompasses all persons.

    Reply
  399. Lafona M.D. -  June 24, 2011 - 9:06 pm

    @ ward kendall: so black dudes fair better in being alone than whites? but as a society whites genereally outperform blacks? hmmmm if this is the truth then it definitely counts as not for all men :)

    Reply
  400. Lafona M.D. -  June 24, 2011 - 9:02 pm

    @ katharine i am a doctor, now what?

    Reply
  401. JR -  June 24, 2011 - 8:57 pm

    Right on Angela!

    @Tim and others. Before submitting to unbridled umbrage, read the article again.

    It’s saying that if people know nothing about you except your name, they will have a certain idea of how you are. It’s not saying that their perception will be accurate. It’s right there in the title:

    “Do names *prejudice* how others *perceive* your status?”

    Reply
  402. Katie -  June 24, 2011 - 8:46 pm

    My name is short for Katherine. I do not attend private school, but I suppose you could say that I am smart. I believe that names have stereotypes. For example, I could see the name Katherine as belonging to a rather stuck-up, rich, and smart girl, but I am not stuck-up or rich. Travis appears to me as a “skater,” so I wouldn’t see a large future for that name, but that is a stereotype. It is all in what people perceive in your name and what kind of background you were raised in.

    Reply
  403. the epicness that is me -  June 24, 2011 - 8:44 pm

    I think that’s interesting. What do you think Samantha sounds like? Or Alexandria?

    Reply
  404. Diana -  June 24, 2011 - 8:43 pm

    Yes, this article is merely talking about perception, based solely on names. I have no idea what perception my name causes, but people sure get it wrong a lot! I have been called Diane since I was a kid. There’s an A at the end people! lol
    When naming our children, who are 2 1/2 and 6 months, my husband and I had a “absolute no” list that included names like Destiny, Nevaeh, Desiree,Tiffany,Trinity, Sierra…because the girls we knew that had those names seemed to be the girls that slept around and didn’t finish high school (and we went to different high schools!).
    Names are important, if nothing else than for first impressions.

    Reply
  405. Colin -  June 24, 2011 - 8:39 pm

    remember kids: correlation does not equal causation…Bloomberg U, huh? Google never heard of it.

    Reply
  406. Joe -  June 24, 2011 - 8:28 pm

    Every single name has an individualistic association based on personal experience, making this socially significant. “I went out with Sheila when I was younger.” Whether or not you had a good time with Sheila, there will be memories you had with the name Sheila and that will indisputably influence future ‘Shielas.’
    I think cinema has a huge influence on how we perceive names.

    Reply
  407. Heather -  June 24, 2011 - 8:23 pm

    My cousin’s name is Amber. She’s fairly intellectual, though. She’s currently in college working to become a dental hygenist. I wonder how my name rates…

    Reply
  408. CJ -  June 24, 2011 - 8:19 pm

    “That has to be the biggest load of crap I have ever heard. Unless you name your child “loser” or “stupid” the thought that a name can affect you achievement would be similar to saying you race determines your intelligence. It’s insulting.”

    Point of interest, a man named Robert Lane actually named his sons Winner and Loser. Loser went to college and then joined the NYPD and Winner has a long criminal record.

    Reply
  409. Katy -  June 24, 2011 - 8:07 pm

    I think the main idea is that those who are on the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder typically produce children who are also in the lower class. Despite what Americans believe, it has been shown by research that people are moving from the lower class to middle far less than in previous generations.
    This being said, an upper class woman is more likely to name her child a proper name than a lower class woman, just as women and men in older states give their children more traditional names.

    Reply
  410. Ward Kendall -  June 24, 2011 - 7:57 pm

    @ Tim Martin & Justin Miller:

    Actually, you’re both wrong. Race does have a bearing on how smart one ultimately is, at least in regard to an unborn child’s odds of being imbued with higher-than-average intelligence.

    True, people of any race can be born retarded, average, or with superior intelligence. But the FREQUENCY of higher intelligence differs between, say, blacks and whites. If an unborn child is black, it may grow up with the intelligence of a genius. Conversely, a white child may be born unable to walk and chew gum at one and the same time.

    However, both the unborn black child and the unborn white child DO NOT have the same chances of having either average intelligence or above-average intelligence. White children – as a group – are more likely to be born with higher intelligence than blacks.

    For proof of this, consult the findings of the Human Genome Project, in addition to countless modern studies, including MRI research on the human brain, and how it shows a causation between race and intelligence.

    Why isn’t it talked about then?

    Well, as Voltaire famously said, “There are truths which are not for all men, nor for all times.”

    Reply
  411. Evelyn -  June 24, 2011 - 7:54 pm

    Here in the UK we still have quite a defined class system. There are certain names that would be more likely to be found amongst the working class or the middle class and I do think it can have an influence on the way a person is perceived. There are also variations on names that might be more “working class” or more “middle class”. For example, my young son is called Jacob. We usually call him “Jake” and sometimes we call him “Jakie”. My sister, who lives in Scotland, informed me that “Jakie” is considered a bit of a trashy name in her local area. “Jacob” might sound a bit more middle class than “Jake” to some people. Some might see “Robert” as being “middle class”, and “Robbie” as being “working class”, and so on.

    Reply
  412. Shea -  June 24, 2011 - 7:43 pm

    In response to:
    Lafonda on June 24, 2011 at 6:04 pm
    “My name is LaFonda and I have a PhD from Yale.”

    If this were facebook I would click “like” to this. I do believe that unique names affect personality but I don’t know if I believe that it affects the way people see you in how well you will do in life.

    Reply
  413. Katherine -  June 24, 2011 - 7:42 pm

    oh and Madelyn, I think your name “sounds” like you’re pretty and really sweet and funny :D

    Reply
  414. Katherine -  June 24, 2011 - 7:40 pm

    ugh sorry about that comment! It sounded so cocky! That was just my little sister pretending to be me…. >.< she's weird like that

    anyway, I really don't think people should judge by names-it just seems wrong to do that. My mom told me she picked my name because it was pretty and "smart" I guess she "judged" names too :S

    Reply
  415. Katherine -  June 24, 2011 - 7:35 pm

    My name is Katherine and I go to a private school! I have the highest grades in my grade, am the student council president, and have won multiple violin and dance competitions! Never thought that I could judge myself by my name! :P

    Reply
  416. Jessica -  June 24, 2011 - 7:26 pm

    @LaFonda, you tell them. The name of a child does not determine their future but their own will.
    @Katherine, you sounds pretty ignorant, EVEN though ur name is katherine and u went to private school.

    Some people have no respect for others.

    Reply
  417. r -  June 24, 2011 - 6:48 pm

    I think a name is extremely important….and we choose how we view ourselves within that context. We introduce ourselves with the name we are most comfortable with and how we want to be called from an early age. I was named Ruth…to me it was old, ugly and rough. I was a petite, soft-spoken girl. My middle name is Ann.

    When I was in 6th grade we moved to a new town. I decided from the first day in my new school that I would forever be known as Ruthann. It made all the difference. Still today, at 58 yrs old, I feel like a Ruthann and still dislike the name Ruth. My self-perception changed the day I became Ruthann….someone classy and smart!

    Reply
  418. Angela -  June 24, 2011 - 6:27 pm

    @Tim, I agree that a correlation (your name alters your achievement level) is a load of crap, but I think the article is merely saying that names influence PERCEPTION of a person and their possible achievement. I believe this to be true. All humans make snap decisions of others based on appearance, demeanor, behavior, and name. Let’s be honest, if you were set up on a blind date with a girl named Shaniqua you would already be expecting to meet an African American woman; that alone shows a preconceived expectation based on name (although it doesn’t CAUSE it to be true).

    I do not think your name sets in stone what you actually end up doing with your life, i.e. Lafona could be a doctor.

    Reply
  419. Lafonda -  June 24, 2011 - 6:04 pm

    My name is LaFonda and I have a PhD from Yale.

    Reply
  420. VaLerie -  June 24, 2011 - 5:58 pm

    Katharine’s comment sounds pretty ignorant even though she claimed that she went to private school and is studious. I guess she has book smarts but low intelligence.

    Reply
  421. Justin Miller -  June 24, 2011 - 5:46 pm

    “That has to be the biggest load of crap I have ever heard. Unless you name your child “loser” or “stupid” the thought that a name can affect you achievement would be similar to saying you race determines your intelligence. It’s insulting.”

    Race doesn’t affect your intelligence, but it does have a strong influence on the way others (and even you yourself) are inclined to perceive your intellectual faculties. This study merely argues that an individual experiences similar pressures as a result of his or her name.

    Reply
  422. Justin Miller -  June 24, 2011 - 5:45 pm

    Correlation does not imply causation.

    Names may have an influence on success as a result of the perceptions of oneself and others, but a great deal must also be said for the nature of the names given to children born into supportive and enriching environments, as opposed to environments which offer fewer opportunities. I imagine the expectations and socioeconomic status of parents who name their child “Katherine” or “Jessica” would demonstrate a statistically significant difference if compared with the expectations of parents who name their child “Sierra” or “Dakota.”

    Reply
  423. Katharine -  June 24, 2011 - 5:27 pm

    My name is Katharine and I went to a private school. I’m pretty studious and always make good grades. My mom chose the name because it sounded strong and regal. I wonder how many doctors and lawyers are named “Shaniqua” or “Lafonda.”

    Reply
  424. Tim Martin -  June 24, 2011 - 5:22 pm

    That has to be the biggest load of crap I have ever heard. Unless you name your child “loser” or “stupid” the thought that a name can affect you achievement would be similar to saying you race determines your intelligence. It’s insulting.

    Reply
  425. Maddy M. -  June 24, 2011 - 5:06 pm

    wow. Not to rag on anyone’s name or anything, but names sound like they can be put into categories, like “dumb blonde” or “smartie” or “dork” or “illiterate”. My name is Madelyn, tell me what category you think it fits in.

    Reply

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