What’s in a name? More than you think, a study suggests. Your child’s name can affect how he is treated and perceived by society.
As soon as couples determine the sex of their child, the next step most take is selecting the perfect name for him or her. The selection, of course, is predicated by the parents’ preferences. Filipinos, for instance, have a penchant for combining the parents’ names, or that of loved ancestors in order to come up with a unique-sounding name.
The intentions or criteria of parents when it comes to choosing baby names, though, create all sorts of consequences on a child and how he is received by society; e.g., you might unwittingly name your child after a serial killer.
In fact, the New York Times feature cites that a couple was supposedly going to name their child “Kalia” but later changed it to “Kaleya” because a simple Google search revealed that Kalia resulted in photos of scantily-clad women. Keep that in mind when thinking of names for your baby.
Names that are “linguistically low-status” had children with these names performing poorly on exams or being referred for special education, according to a study by David Figlio, an economics and education professor at Northwestern University. Linguistically low-status names are those which have unique letter combinations, such as “Alekzandra” instead of the more common “Alexandra”.
Apparently, names don’t just shape perception and treatment; they also help predict future career paths. Upon studying sisters who were both good in Math, Figlio found out that the ones with more feminine names ended up veering towards humanities classes versus those with linguistically androgynous names.
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While some parents might be thinking of giving their boys “girly-sounding” names, they might want to think twice because according to Figlio’s 2006 study, boys with names like Ashley, Shannon, Jamie and Courtney ended up with problems in middle school.
Thus, Figlio recommends that parents pick names that are significant to them instead. Decide what exactly you want for your child – a totally unique name? A name as tribute to the patron saint on the day he was born? A traditional name from Biblical characters? It really all depends on your sensibilities as parents. Just be careful not to give him a name you and he will regret having in the future.
Looking for baby names? Check out our baby name generator by clicking here.