Does a Baby’s Name Affect Its Chances in Life? (Part 1)

I just read a long article by William Kremer of BBC News about a fascinating topic: Does a baby’s name affect its chances in life?

I’m going to make this quick and easy for you. The first part of the article discusses Dalton Conley, a sociologist who named his daughter E and invited her to pick any “E”-name she wanted. Her name wound up being E Harper Nora Conley. Conley also gave his son free reign and his son picked the name Yo Xing Heyno Augustus Eisner Alexander Weiser Knuckles Conley. This experience motivated Dalton Conley to find oout how a baby’s name affects the child’s chances in life. Here’s Conley’s conclusion, according Kremer:

Conley, who is a sociologist at New York University, says that children with unusual names may learn impulse control because they may be teased or get used to people asking about their names. “They actually benefit from that experience by learning to control their emotions or their impulses, which is of course a great skill for success.”

But for the main part, he says, the effect of a name on its bearer rarely amounts to more than the effect of being raised by parents who would choose such a name.

Think about that last sentence. The child’s chances in life are affected more by the parents (who pick the child’s name) than by the name itself. And you can tell some things about parents by the name they picked.

-In the case of the Conley kids, the fact that they had parents who let them pick their own names was a key fact.

-In the case of North West, the fact that she had a dad who came up with a jokey name while conversing with comedian Jay Leno on the “Tonight Show” and then stuck with that name despite negative feedback from the media and from his own fans.

-In the case of Frank and Adelaide Gail Zappa, the fact that they came up with four highly controversial and widely disliked names including:
*Ahmet Emmuukah Rodan
*Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen
*Moon Unit

Apparently, the names parents choose for their children speaks volumes about them.




By William Kremer

BBC World Service


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