Experts: A name is much more than people think

Updated 12 July 2013
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Experts: A name is much more than people think

As Prince William and wife Catherine mull over names for their royal offspring, they would do well to heed mounting evidence that a name can influence everything from your school grades and career choice to who you marry and where you live.
Someone named Jacqueline or Steven will generally fare better in life than Latrina or Butch, say researchers, who also point to a phenomenon whereby the world’s fastest man is called Bolt, a TV weather forecaster Sarah Blizzard, and the local librarian Mrs. Storey.
“Your name can influence the assumptions that other people make about your character and background, and thus the chances you are given in life,” says Richard Wiseman — a case in point, he’s a professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire.
“If your name sounds intelligent, successful and attractive, you are more likely to act those things.”
A flurry of studies in recent years have examined names as predictors of success.
They found that girls with perceived “feminine” names like Isabella or Kayla are less likely to pursue maths or science than those named Taylor or Madison, and that pupils with perceived “lower status” names get worse grades than others from the same background but with stylish names.
“Names can really make a difference in children’s lives,” Northwestern University researcher David Figlio, who has written several papers on the topic, told AFP.
Research has pointed to a clear, though probably subconscious, tendency for people to prefer things that resemble themselves — including the letters of their names.
Denizes are more likely to become dentists than dermatologists, while Lawrences are overrepresented among lawyers and Raymonds among radiologists.
The term “nominative determinism” was coined by the journal New Scientist in 1994, which cited a paper on urinary incontinence by authors Splatt and Weedon.
Sometimes a name can denote disappointment.
Psychologist Ernest L Able cites research showing that professional baseball players whose first or last names begin with a “K,” the letter that denotes a strikeout, are more likely to strike out than others.
Students pursuing MBA degrees whose names begin with a C or D have lower averages than those whose names begin with A or B, and one study even suggested that people whose names spell out negative words were more likely to die prematurely, while those with positive initials like V.I.P live longer.


‘Game of Thrones’ author George R.R. Martin announces new book

Updated 11 min 36 sec ago
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‘Game of Thrones’ author George R.R. Martin announces new book

NEW YORK: American author George R.R. Martin Wednesday announced a new book to be released in November — but fans may be disappointed to learn it’s not the highly-anticipated sixth installment of the hit “Game of Thrones” saga.
“Fire and Blood” is set several centuries before “Game of Thrones” in the same fantasy world of Westeros, the author said on his blog. Martin stressed it is not a novel, but rather a historical text setting out the history of Westeros’ Targaryen dynasty.
Since 2012, the author has published several passages from the new book. Publisher Bantam Spectra did not respond to a request for comment about the upcoming release, but the book is already available for presale online
As for the sixth “Game of Thrones” book — “The Winds of Winter” — Martin said: “No, winter is not coming... not in 2018, at least.”
Between 1996 and 2011, Martin published five volumes of the “Game of Thrones” series — letting six years pass between the fourth and fifth.
Since the sixth season of the phenomenally popular television show based on the series, the writers have not directly relied on Martin’s books — and in any case, producer HBO took many liberties with the original story in previous seasons.
The series — whose eighth and final season is expected in 2019 — has already scooped up a record 38 Emmy Awards.