Blogging the NY Times: What's in a Name?

Blogging the NY Times: What's in a Name?

Julia Cho
Mar 14, 2008

We're always interested in the idea of whether or not our names affect how we're perceived or even who we become. The NY Times and a new book discuss the latest research on names like Garage Empty, Hysteria Johnson, King Arthur, Infinity Hubbard, Please Cope, Major Slaughter, Helen Troy, and Satan. You might be surprised.

Traditional studies had shown that kids with odd names were less popular in elementary school, overrepresented among emotionally disturbed children, and had their resumes dismissed more quickly.

But the authors of the new book "Bad Baby Names," Michael Sherrod and Matthew Rayback, interviewed adults with names like Candy Stohr, Cash Guy, Mary Christmas, River Jordan and Rasp Berry, and found that for the most part, the adults were untraumatized.

It seems that names are only significant enough to do damage if that is the only aspect of a person someone sees. Appearance and personality, for example, will have more of an impact than the name.

The most interesting point in the article (to us), was that the funnier set of names, "Nice Deal, Lotta Beers," are declining as dads (who went for the more humorous names) have less of a say. The unusual names today are chosen more for individuality.

Find the complete article here.

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