Your Name Determines Your Success

Your Name Determines Your Success

What's in a name? Apparently your personality, success and future.

There's no doubt that names have a great impact on who you become, but to what extent? We're usually named by our parents, so our names reflects their expectations which "indirectly reflects the personality and behavior expectations of the child," said James Bruning, a psychology professor at Ohio University. These expectations are carried outside the home by others in society, from school teachers to job interviewers. Depending on what traits the name is associated with, children as young as those in kindergarten identify with a "passive" or "active" personality.

For example, Bruning said, "Which of these two little boys do you think had parents with a more “active” set of expectations: Colt or Percival? Which of the two would more likely take music lessons?"

What about Anna and Zoey – who do you think would prefer coloring over playing outside?

According to the study, by third grade, the children's names almost exactly matched with the "expected behavior" associated with their name. This is not to say that every Percival is "passive" or that every Zoey prefers playing outside, but it is interesting how people – particularly children – may consciously or subconsciously exhibit certain traits that collectively contribute to society's connotative definition of the name. So, a boy named Champ, who may feel the societal expectation to be a winner (just like his name sounds) may subconsciously be drawn to playing definite lose-win sports, like former football cornerback Champ Bailey.

There's even a disproportionate chart of names that are commonly associated with their particular profession, noting that there are just as many guitarists named Richie and accountants named Maribel as we would stereotypically expect there to be in that particular line of work. In some cases, people are drawn to job titles that correlate with their name, such as Usain Bolt, the fastest runner ever or even Donald Trump as a television producer. This phenomenon is called "nominative determinism". Psychologist Dr. Brett Pelham dubs the entire case of name-letter attraction as "implicit egotism", which is the natural human preference to gravitate towards people, things and places that resemble oneself.

“If you notice even some fragment of your name, it catches your attention and creates a positive association for you,” said Pelham to Science Focus.

And speaking of positive association, common, easier-to-pronounce names are more likely to be favored – especially if the last name is closer to the beginning of the alphabet. The Economics of Education Review published a study that analyzed the relationship between the last names of 90,000 Czech students and their admission chances into competitive colleges. The researchers found that in many cases, students with last names closer to the beginning of the alphabet were more likely to be admitted to the college even if they had lower test scores than their counterparts with last names starting with letters near the end of the alphabet.

What's worse is that an uncommon name particularly one that's not "white-sounding" – may be likely to land a kid in juvenile detention, as suggested by a 2009 Shippensburg University study. Researchers noted that regardless of race, kids with unusual, unpopular names "may be more prone to crime because they are treated differently by their peers, making it more difficult for them to form relationships," reports Business Insider. Boys with "girl's names" have a greater risk of being suspended from school, according to a 2005 study. On the other hand, another study found that women with masculine or gender-neutral names like Cameron, Jan or Lesile may find success in male-dominated fields like engineering and law.

An American Economic Association study confirms that there's a preference for white-sounding names when it comes to job interviews.

"White-sounding names like Emily Walsh and Greg Baker got nearly 50 percent more callbacks than candidates with black-sounding names like Lakisha Washington and Jamal Jones," reports Business Insider. Researchers found that a white-sounding name constituted as much as eight years of work experience, even if the candidate lacked solid work history. This subtle discrimination is a huge drawback for "ethnic-sounding" names which could be different for every country. Even in the melting pot nation of U.S., a name is considered ethnic-sounding if it has any cultural ties, whether it's from the Latin America, the African continent, the Middle East or the Asias, boomeranging across Europe and back to the Americas.

Famous Indian-American individuals, including "actress and comedian Mindy Kaling (born Vera Chokalingam)... politician Bobby Jindal (Piyush Jindal at birth) and Canadian-Indian Bollywood actress Sunny Leone (formerly Karenjit Kaur Vohra) all changed their birth names in part to better their career prospects," reports BBC. Had they kept their birth names and applied for a job in the mathematics or science sector, they might have been hired on the spot due to the stereotypical assumption that "Asians are good at math," notes Science Focus.

Despite all the advancements American society has made diversity wise, people are still judging others, playing with their future and affecting their shot at success just because of their name.

So, what future does your name hold?

Cover Image Credit: Zeenews

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.

What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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Truth Is, All Trump Has Done Is Make America Hate Again

I accept and understand that you may have different opinions, but please respect mine too.


A feat that was thought nearly impossible. Almost every poll reported that it was a clear win for Hillary Clinton. Yet, the day of the election many Trump supporters found themselves overjoyed.

I remember that day very clearly. It was incredibly late on a school night but there was no way that I could go to bed. I was sixteen years old and terrified for the future. Whoever won, I was aware that it would be an interesting, but tough four years. I remember not being particularly fond of Hillary, but I strongly opposed (and still do) Donald Trump.

I want to point out that I try to be very respectful about different political opinions, I feel like there is something to learn from everyone. I find it difficult to do that in this case. I will attempt to look at it from both angles, regardless.

I am outraged. Outraged by the reality of his presidency.

A man with zero qualification in regards to politics, no experience in the field, and ultimately a failed businessman. One can argue that it's very elitist of me to believe that someone who went to school or has experience with politics should be the only people with access to the White House. I argue that it is important that whoever occupies the oval office should have education on the very thing he was elected to do, lead the country. A degree doesn't make one better than anyone else, but it indicates a formal education, which I believe is fair to ask for when put in the highest position of power in the United States.

I firmly believe that Donald Trump's views do not coincide with what the Republican party was before. This poses the analysis of how much the GOP has changed since he announced the beginning of the campaign. I believe that before Trump, and even Obama, ran the White House, Republicans and Democrats were different in some ways, but never with this aggression and blatant disrespect for one another.

"Respect," is a word that Trump doesn't seem to be too familiar with. It seems like he doesn't know when he is being severely disrespectful. For example, when he attacked the disabled reporter; More recently, when he mocked Christine Blasey Ford. Whatever your position, Republican, Democrat or Libertarian, we can agree that mocking people on Twitter or in rallies is poor taste...

... or not.

Which brings me to my next point and what I believe to be the worst part of Trump´s presidency. I believe he has not "made America great again," but he has made it OK to be hateful again. I think this incessant bullying and obvious racism has only enabled those who have believed these things but knew it was bad to express it. This attitude and distaste towards minorities or just those who are different is so prevalent. Donald Trump has taken a large part is encouraging this.

He made it OK to oppress people again.

He made it OK to hurt those who are different.

He made it OK to be racist and proud.

He made it OK to be shamed for being an abuse victim.

He made it OK to hate on the right to free speech.

He made it OK to be narrow-minded.

Don't get me wrong, I am positive that there have always been people like this but never out in the open. He exposed this great issue and frankly, it's depressing.

It's depressing to know that there are people who are this vicious towards others. I think this norm of being so distasteful towards each other and it needs to stop.

This is the reality of what we face in this country. It´s up to us to change it. Political science major or not, Democrat or not. It is imperative we see the harm of this administration and hope to change our country for the better.

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