Anti Gravity: Name Recognition; September 2000; Scientific American Magazine; by Steve Mirsky; 1 Page(s)
A city full of people forced to attract one another's attention with an endless chorus of "Yo!" would be a ponderous place, or at least sound suspiciously like New York City. Therefore, handles come in handy. Theoretically, a name is merely a designation, a way to distinguish one individual from another. But various studies over the years have shown that some names also carry the weight of expectations. And those expectations, primarily on the parts of the parents who dubbed little Dub, can subtly influence the dubbee.
James Bruning has studied the appellation issue for some three decades, as a psychologist at Ohio University. (His institution's name often gets it confused with that other school that has all the big-name running backs, who, coincidentally, have their names on their backs when they run.) Bruning's years of research lead him to offer this counsel for couples musing on names for the new arrival: the baby will be an adult for most of its life. "I always advise parents to at least put a Mr. or Mrs., or President, or King or Queen-some title that says 'adult'-in front of the name," he says. "Do that, and I think you very quickly could drop a lot of choices." If nothing else, we could avoid a future where the nursing homes are teeming with Briannas, Kaitlyns, Austins and Tylers.