The ‘Name’ we carry influences our Personality

The ‘Name’ we carry influences our Personality


Several studies claim that the name your parents chose for you conditions some of your choices and even prints a mark on what life holds: from what job you choose to how many years you live, everything has to do in some degree with the letters that they name you.

The idea that our names are intertwined with our destiny has biblical roots: according to the book of Genesis, Abram changed his name to Abraham’s to adapt to his role as “father of multitudes”, which is the meaning of Abraham in the Hebrew language .

Well, in recent years various scientific studies have supported the relationship between name and destination, asserting that people are influenced by names when deciding with whom to marry, in what street they will live, with whom they will form a couple and even work with them. which will earn their living, among other things.

Your name in your life: 6 things that influence

* Choose profession . According to researchers from Wayne State University (USA) in the magazine “Names: A Journal of Onomastics”, our name and surname can influence us when choosing which career to study or which job to choose. For example, those who are called “Doctor” are more likely to study Medicine than Law. And the initial letter of the surnames of those who practice the medical profession also conditions them when choosing a specialty.

Years of life : the initial letters of our name and our surnames also produce effects in the way they treat us and, by extension, in the quality and longevity of our life, as suggested by a controversial study carried out by the teacher of psychology Nicholas Christenfeld, University of California.

In 1999, Christenfeld analyzed the names of people who died in California from 1969 to 1995, and developed positive and negative lists of the initials of their names. For example, ACE (as), WIN (win) or VIP (very importan people) were included in the group of positive initials. RAT (rat), BUM (loafer) or SAD (sad), in the group of negative initials. After examining the initials of some 3,500 people, he discovered a very strong correlation between life expectancy and connotation of the initials of his name. His conclusion was that our initials can really influence the time and the cause of our death. “A symbol as simple as one’s initials can add four years of life or subtract three years from it,” he wrote in an article published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research.

* Sex appeal : According to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), women are sexier when their name has vowels with curves, such as “a” and “o”. And with men the opposite happens: they are considered more attractive when their names contain the “e” or the “i”.

In the experiment, the researchers posted photos with fake names in an online magazine that rated the attractiveness of the people. Some time later, they put back the same images but with different names. Thus they checked what they suspected: the qualifications varied.

Be successful . In a study that revealed the cases of more than 6,000 people, the psychologist Richard Wiseman found that for the British to be called Elizabeth or James is associated with success. Lucy and Jack are the names of the luckiest, while it is considered that people with worse luck are called Helen or John. “This has consequences because employees with names associated with success or attractiveness may have more options to move up,” says Wiseman.

Choose a company . A study by the University of Ghent (Belgium) conducted in 2009 revealed that the name-letter effect also causes people to choose to work in companies whose initial matches the first letter of their name or their surnames.

The influence of the name on the child’s personality

At the other extreme in terms of choosing the name are those who want to maintain at all costs the family tradition giving the case of families where the great-grandfather, grandfather, father, son and grandson bear the same name. And that is something that can cause more than one confusion . Different is the case in which the child bears the name of a deceased person as a tribute, something that may seem very emotional but does not cease to be a burden when the child finds his true identity.

This leads us to consider whether it is better to choose a strange, original, exotic name or a traditional name that is familiar to everyone. If the child bears a strange , eccentric or hard-to-pronounce name we may be encouraging teasing at school, feeling different and may be excluded. But it can also be that the child gets stronger feeling special . 

The truth is that the name can greatly influence the personality of a child, but it is not decisive. What ultimately determines a child’s personality is the family environment in which childhood passes. If the child feels safe, if he is taught to believe in himself and his self-esteem is enhanced , the name he carries will be the least, even if that name draws too much attention.

The French-Israeli researchers, to reach such a conclusion, carried out 8 experiments in order to elucidate if it was possible for the participants to recognize the face of a stranger only by name.


Participants associated name and face with 40% effectiveness

Participants associated name and face with 40% effectiveness

The results, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , showed that the participants were significantly superior in relating face-name than what would be random. Even when ethnicity, age and other socioeconomic variables were controlled, volunteers guessed right 40% of the time when chance is stipulated between 20 and 25%.

In this way, it became the first study to demonstrate the relationship between social preconceptions and the expectations of a name can alter the way in which it is observed. Dr. Yonat Zwebner, leader of the research, said: “Our name is our first social marker, each name has associated characteristics, behaviors and appearance.”

In turn, the specialist pointed out that there is often a process of adaptation to those expectations that are placed in each one. “Over time, these stereotyped facial expectations of how we should look can manifest in our appearance, we develop the personality that other people expect us to exhibit,” he explained.


The "bouba-kiki" effect was the first antecedent of the study

The “bouba-kiki” effect was the first antecedent of the study

The connection finds its first antecedent in a known “bouba-kiki” effect . In 1929 the psychologist Wolfgang Köhler found a curious process in the brain that associated “bouba” with rounded objects and “kiki” with pointed shapes.

The same effect, according to the research team, is presented with the names. And they offer an example: “Society expects a man named Bob to have a more jovial face, and that expectation will eventually lead the Bobs to become more docile and cheerful, while the Tims may tend towards a more reserved personality. narrow”.

No doubt names have clear effects on the individuals. So, persons and things are affected by their names regarding beauty, ugliness, lightness, heaviness, etc.

Ibn al-Qayyim said: ‘since names indicate particular meanings therefore, the wisdom proves that there is a strong relation between names and their meanings’ (See Zad al-Mead; for an important chapter on this subject).

He also said in another book: “Tuhfa al-Mawdood Bi Ahkam al-Mawlood”: ‘If you are keen to know the effects of names on their personalities look into the Hadith narrated by Sayeed Ibn al-Musayyib from his grandfather in which he said: “I went to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) and the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) asked me, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Hazn ” (roughness). The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said, “You are Sahl” (softness)’. Hazn said, ‘I will not change the name with which my father has named me. Sayeed said: ‘We have had roughness (in character) ever since” ‘ .

Moreover, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) used to love good names of people, places, tribes, hills, etc. and hated their bad names. He used to take good omen from good names as he did in the al-Hudaibiyah treaty. WhenSuhail bin Amar came to talk, he said to his companions: “Your matter will become easy. Once he was passing by two hills in a journey and enquired about their names. He was told, ‘Fadih (shameful) Mukhzi (disgraceful)’. He turned away from them and did not pass by them” .

Once “The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) asked people to milk a sheep. One of them got up to milk; he asked his name; he said, Murrah (bitter). The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said: “Sit down”. Then another person got up to milk he asked his name he said: Harb (war). He told him, ‘sit down’. Then a third person got up to milk it, he asked his name, he said, Yaeesh (lives long). Then the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) allowed him to milk the sheep”.

It is narrated in Jameh Ibn Wahab that “A baby was brought to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam), and he asked his name. They said: al-Saieb(abandoned). The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said: No, but his name is Abdullah (slave of Allah)” . The narrator said: “But the people used to call him by the other name so, he did not die till he became insane” .

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