A handful of studies found that a name not only reveals clues about a person’s class, education and ethnic origin, it can also influence the bearer of the moniker and the choices they make in life.
Scientists have even drawn conclusions to suggest that people are often drawn to things and people that sound like their own names.
These experts claim that “implicit egotism” is the reason that someone called Dennis might become a dentist or even that a child whose name begins with a B or C may fare worse in school examinations.
A controversial 2007 study linked higher scoring peers to names that begun with A or B.
That a person’s name may be bound to his or her destiny is far from a new phenomenon.
The Ancient Romans promoted the concept “nomen est omen”, meaning “name is destiny”.
Studies have indeed shown that those with more conservative, “Caucasian” names are more successful when submitting resumes for employment.
And a recent poll conducted in Australia revealed that people respond more warmly to colleagues and politicians with names they can easily pronounce.
Yet parents nowadays are putting that much more effort into giving their offspring original names that are largely unfamiliar.
Though historically names have been passed down through families of gleaned from the Bible, in recent days the tendency has been to think outside the box and consider movies, songs and stories for inspiration.
When Britney Spears rose to fame the slightly altered Brittaney became wildly popular among new parents and recently, thanks to the Twilight series, Isabella has made a comeback.
In 1912, when John and Mary were the top choices in a list of the 200 most popular baby names, 80% of parents would chose from that selection.
But today, about half of all boys and girls born are given names in the current top 200 list.
One study found that 30% of African American girls born in California during the 1990’s were given unique names that they shared with not a single person born in the same year in the same state.
Most surprisingly, however, are the statistics that show how these trends differ across the nation.
According to naming expert Laura Wattenberg, “classic, Christian, masculine” names like Peter and Thomas prevail in the more liberal states whereas an “androgynous, pagan newcomer like Dakota” would not be out of place in a red states.
Dr. Martin Ford of George Mason University, however, believes a name does not stand for much either way.
He explained: “Names only have a significant influence when that is the only thing you know about the person. Add a picture, and the impact of the name recedes.
“Add information about personality, motivation, and ability, and the impact of the name shrinks to minimal significance.”