How your name can influence the way others see you

Publish Date
Tuesday, 29 May 2018, 8:00AM
Photo / Getty

Photo / Getty

Parents often agonise over what names to give their children. Now a new study suggests they may have good reason.  

Scientists have revealed that those we meet use our first name to judge everything from our personality to our performance at work, the Daily Mail reports.

Female names are seen as warmer and less competent than male names, which scientists say is a reflection of sexist attitudes.

People called Betty or Bruce are seen as older than a Brittney or Brad - a product of changing fashions in children's names.

Previous studies have shown that people with royal names like James or Elizabeth are perceived as successful, while teachers are more likely to give children good grades if they have popular names such as Jack or Emily.

Scientists behind the new research, from Syracuse University in New York, said that choosing your child's name carefully can help them avoid future stereotyping.

Study lead author Dr Leonard Newman told New Scientist: 'If you give your child a fashionable name for the time, it might date them.

'The only way around it is to choose a name that never seems to go out of style, like David or Michael.'

Researchers asked 500 university students to rate around 400 popular male and female names spanning a period of 70 years.

Each participant was asked questions about certain names, for instance: 'Imagine that you are about to meet Samantha. How competent/warm/old do you think she is when you see her name?'

Scientists used their results to assess which names were associated with people who were older, competent, warm, or a combination of the three.

HOW DOES YOUR NAME IMPACT HOW OTHERS PERCEIVE YOU?

A number of studies have found that our names change the way people judge our personality, age and more.

In a study published May 8, scientists at Syracuse University in New York asked 500 university students to rate 400 popular names spanning 70 years.

Questions came in the format: 'Imagine that you are about to meet Samantha. How competent/warm/old do you think she is when you see her name?'

Scientists used their results to assess which names were perceived as being competent, warm, or a combination of the two.

Below are the results:

Warm and competent names

Ann, Anna, Caroline, Daniel, David, Elizabeth, Emily, Emma, Evelyn, Felicia, Grace, James, Jennifer, John, Jonathan, Julie, Kathleen, Madeline, Mark, Mary, Matthew, Michael, Michelle, Natalie, Nicholas, Noah, Olivia, Paul, Rachel, Samantha, Sarah, Sophia, Stephen, Susan, Thomas, William

Warm but less competent names

Hailey, Hannah, Jesse, Kellie, Melody, Mia

Competent but less warm names

Arnold, Gerard, Herbert, Howard, Lawrence, Norman, Reginald, Stuart

Names of low warmth and competence

Alvin, Brent, Bryce, Cheyenne, Colby, Crystal, Dana, Darrell, Devon, Dominic, Dominique, Duane, Erin, Larry, Leslie, Lonnie, Malachi, Marcia, Marco, Mercedes, Omar, Regina, Rex, Roy, Tracy, Trenton, Vicki, Whitney

This article was first published on Daily Mail and is republished here with permission.