The Name Game – Brief Article

Cindy Klinger

What’s in a name? The secret to your success, new research suggests. A recent study published in the Journal of Social Psychology found that people tend to predict career success based on how well a person’s name matches the gender associated with their vocation. Ohio University (OU) researchers asked participants to read descriptions of people–including their name and occupation–and found that they deemed women with a more feminine name like Emma more likely to be successful in traditional female occupations such as nursing, while men with a more masculine name like Hank were expected to excel at jobs like plumbing–traditionally considered a male career.

The results suggest that people with names that don’t “fit” their desired career might have more difficulty finding work than equally qualified colleagues with more fitting names. This surprised James Bruning, Ph.D., an OU psychology professor and the study’s lead author. “We thought that with today’s political correctness, everybody would be assumed to be able to do everything equally well–but we just didn’t find that.” He suggests that parents “be aware of the name they give [because it] probably does reflect their expectations for the child.”

COPYRIGHT 2000 Sussex Publishers, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group

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