Choosing your child's name: What the research says
"I love you, Matt. Oh wait,Mark." Sound familiar? You're not the only one to accidentally mix up your kids' names, even if you gave each of them : New research in the online journal shows that the slip-up is more likely if your kids have the same initials.
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin polled 334 people and found that they were more likely to be mistakenly called a sibling's name if the two of them shared an initial (Deb/Diana) or a final sound (Ben/Ayden), compared to names with no commonalities.
The reason: While speech snafus are common between words that belong to the same category (like names), mistakes are even more likely if the words also overlap in sound, says Zenzi Griffin, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, and lead author of the study. (Try explaining that to little Mark, though.)
Related:Hipster Baby Names
Here, five more surprising baby-naming mistakes new parents should avoid.
1. Giving Boys Androgynous Names
Boys with borderline boy-girl names such as Shannon, Aaron, and Jamie tend to have more behavior problems in middle school than those with boy-only names, according to oneEducation Finance and Policystudy. Let's call itrebellion.
2. Inventive Spelling
Creativity can hinder futures: According to findings from theNational Bureau of Economic Research, teachers subconsciously expect less from students whose names have unusual spellings, and as a result, give them less attention. Hit fast-forward, and people think less of co-workers whose names they can't easily pronounce, according to a study published in theJournal of Experimental Social Psychology.
Related:Cool and Unique Boy Names
3. Starting with the Middle Name
Unless your kid's in deep doo-doo, the middle name is usually irrelevant—and choosing it first can lock you in to first names you aren't crazy about, says Laura Wattenberg, author of . Choose a prename you love first, and let the middle name come second.
4. Making ItTooUnique
Children with head-scratching names are more likely to grow into narcissists than those who have less individualistic names, according to Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D., a psychology researcher at San Diego State University and author of . While every child is unique, parents who choose out-there names may add more emphasis on how special their kids are, she says.
5. Keeping It a Surprise
The best way to see how a name is going to go over is to run it by others, Wattenberg says. And that doesn't mean asking the anonymous Internet for opinions. Poll a small focus group and swear them to secrecy.
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