You may ask, “What’s in a name?” After all, a “rose by any other name may still smell as sweet…” However, according to a series of studies conducted by Dr.Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCLA, and author of the self-published Baby Name Report Card: Beneficial and Harmful Baby Names, the name you go by can affect preconceived notions of what kind of person you may belong before anyone actually gets to know you.
Although children born to wealthy or celebrity parents have access to numerous advantages that others may lack, Mehrabian firmly believes that one of the greatest gifts parents of all means can give to their children at birth is a name that can help them succeed in the future.
To prove his point, he asked more than 2000 people (in 7 studies during the early 2000’s) to offer their opinions about just what kind of person they thought someone they had never met would be solely based on their first names. The basic goal of the projects was to determine what monikers were most likely to make people view someone as being “intelligent, creative, confident, and assertive, etc.” Participants were also asked to identify which names they thought belonged to people described as most likely to be “fun and popular, ethical, caring, or masculine or feminine.”
“These are all things parents should take in consideration before naming their child,” he commented.
In the end, while many people gravitate to “fad” names, others seek to name their children after family members, or make up strange names such as magician Penn Gillette, who named his daughter “Moxie Crime Fighter”, Nicholas Cage who chose the name Kal-El for his son and Nichole Kidman and Keith Urban who chose the names Sunday Rose and Faith Margaret to name just a few. However, the professor believes that these can actually “handicap” their children in the long-run
“I’ve seen parents do just incredible things with their poor children’s names because they were creative and thought they were going to be unique,” Mehrabian stated in a 2016 interview with Bloomberg News “Believe me, you don’t want to name a child with an unattractive name and have them go through life and suffer the consequences.”
Meanwhile, he touts the truly “classical” ones as those with real “lasting power.” Among the top-rated boys’ names for success (according to his studies) are reported: Steven, Christopher, David, Robert, Kenneth, Parker, Thomas, James, and Ross. For girls, these include Elizabeth, Katherine (and Catherine), Susan, Lorraine, Kate, and Madeline.