Name and shame

It turns out that nominal determinism has something to it…

A news story reporting on a study of school performance in Germany reports what anybody who has read Freakonomics already knows. Names can cause all sorts of dramas.

The Freakonomics blog linked to this news story which explained a little bit about why all the staff are deserting the PM’s office.

“The name Kevin was perceived as being linked to especially poor behaviour and performance, with one study participant even writing that, “Kevin is not a name – it’s a diagnosis!””

This is a German study so these names don’t look like orthodox Australian names – but the study of 2,000 teachers found that people with normal names turn out better.

“The study reveals that the names traditional names such as Charlotte, Sophie, Marie, Hannah, Alexander, Maximilian, Simon, Lukas and Jakob are consistently linked to strong performance and good behaviour. Non-traditional names such as Chantal, Mandy, Angelina, Kevin, Justin and Maurice, on the other hand, are associated with weak performance and bad behaviour.”


Leah says:

Maximilian is a traditional name but Justin isn't??

And I only think kids with certain names tend to behave a certain way because of the types of parents they have. Parents of a particular economic and social status might be more prone to name their kids certain names, and correspondingly raise them a certain way.

I realise it's a massive generalisation, but you might find that Peter comes from a basically conservative background with parents who exercise a reasonable amount of discipline and are involved in their child's education, while Blade comes from a family who consider themselves more "open-minded", think their kids can drive their own education, shouldn't be disciplined quite as strictly, etc.

I don't think it means if you name your child a certain name he'll behave like all the other kids with that name.

That said there are certain names I"ve been turned off just because of my association with people who have those names.