Are people more successful with memorable names

People with short names make more money

Bill, Rob, Dale: Research shows that high earning men have very short first names. But an Alexander does well on dating portals. Even the first letter of the last name can have an effect.

Tom, Rob, Dale, Doug, Wayne. Whoever is called like that has the most chance of becoming very rich. This is what the US career site TheLadders claims. She has analyzed her database with six million members and calculated: Every letter saved in the first name pays off. One more letter “costs” an average of 3600 dollars, the equivalent of 2736 euros in annual income.

For women, who generally have longer names, the result was not so clear - the top earners were Lynn, Melissa, Cathy, Dana and Christine - but the trend is also evident here. Micheles earn more than Michelles, Philips more than Phillips, Saras more than Sarah's. The online portal recommends people with long first names to abbreviate themselves. Bill, Steve or Chris make a lot more than Stephen, William or Christopher.

Short name, big career? This has also been announced by the Endmark naming agency after examining 750 men's and women's first names for their “career suitability”. And the social network Linkedin concluded in 2011 from an analysis of its 100 million member data that the CEOs of large companies most frequently have first names with four letters. The name analysts cannot explain the phenomenon. Short names are more memorable, abbreviations seem more human, she speculates, for example.


Names that promise efficiency

Many factors could play a role here, for example that white Americans generally earn more than Muslims who are called Mohammed. If you look at the most popular US first names on the Internet for those male cohorts who are between 40 and 60 today, not only monosyllabic, but nevertheless monosyllabic names dominate.

But short first names also signal characteristics that are desirable on the job market: determination, economy, efficiency. "Lea" -wise slim and purged first names should be like their bearers today, without aesthetic and other "unnecessary" bells and whistles. This has also been reflected in the first name hit lists across Europe for years, whether in Germany or Austria, Holland or Switzerland, France or Great Britain.

Perhaps people with short names are more successful because the parents who choose them have certain priorities and traits that are favorable to the children's success? Or do you have a better chance of viewing applications for the first time? Students know that the first name arouses prejudice, but the length is not the decisive factor here. The same work was rated better by teachers when it said Maximilian and not Kevin.

A Maximilian is particularly good at it when the surname also begins with A or B. Because the habit of being at the beginning of the alphabet and being called up early can obviously have an effect; the further back the first letter of the surname, the lower the proportion in top academic jobs or Nobel Prize winners, the worse the self-assessment, especially among older people.

On dating portals, participants with “bad” first names are often left behind before even looking at their profile. In contrast, classic names like Alexander score. Nomen est omen, the idea that a name reveals something about its bearer works subconsciously in us. Chemnitz social psychologists have shown that the inner images that arise with a given name often begin with an assessment of age. A man by the name of Uwe is considered to be old and therefore also rather unattractive, even less intelligent.


Does Dennis like to become a “dentist”?

On the other hand, our own name also influences us. The American psychologist Brett Palham even claims based on statistics that its sound alone can influence us when choosing our job or where we live. An above-average number of Lauras by profession “lawyers”, especially Dennis “Dentists”, a conspicuous number of Georgias would move to Georgia, and a noticeable number of Louis to Louisiana. In one experiment, people were shown pictures that each showed a name next to a number, each picture only a hundredth of a second long, then athletes were shown with number bibs. The test subjects particularly liked those athletes whose number had previously been next to their name.

We no longer believe like the Teutons or Indians that we become strong as a wolf when we are called a wolf. We hardly ever name our children after saints and hope that this will give us special protection. And probably only a small minority use the number symbolism to calculate what a name reveals about the character and fate of its wearer. But parents-to-be still rack their brains over the name of their child, as if the decisive factor depended on him, as if he - you never know - had a certain power after all. Maybe there is a grain of truth in it.


The boy named Sue

However, no matter what studies say today, ultimately one does not know exactly how the power will work. Countries like Norway or Sweden forbid particularly "negative" names, which could harm the bearer because they cause ridicule. In Johnny Cash's song “A Boy named Sue” just such a name becomes a blessing for a boy: he learned from an early age to get by because he was teased about his maiden name. Only at the end does he realize that his father, who left the family early, called him that for that very reason: “But ya ought to thank me, before I die, / For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye / Cause I'm the son-of-a-bitch that named you, Sue '. "

("Die Presse", print edition, May 13, 2013)