Simple baby names make your child ‘more trustworthy’

The easier a name is to pronounce, the more trustworthy they are deemed in later life, study finds

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Baby names get more weird and wonderful every year. But, according to researchers, it could be wiser to stick to something more simple when you’re choosing one for your child.

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We reported last month how traditional names like Ethel and Norman are practically extinct. And there are also growing trends for nature-inspired names such as Lettice and Beach and film-and-TV inspired names such as Thor and Piper.

But now a study has shown that, actually, choosing a simpler name for your baby could help him or her have an easier life.

The study from the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, found that the harder your name is to pronounce, the less likely people are to trust you.

An experiment showed that when volunteers were asked to read statements attributed to people with names that were hard to pronounce, they were less like to believe the statement.

Researchers dubbed the phenomenon of making a judgement call based on a gut feeling, ‘truthiness’.

Even though people’s names can reveal their ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic status, the experiment showed people are still sensitive to the ease of pronunciation. This can effect how you’re viewed by employers and how likeable you are.

“Fluency can influence judgement,” says lead author Eryn Newman of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

“Across 4 experiments, our findings tell a clear story: People with easy names are evaluated more favourably.

“They’re seen as more familiar, less risky and less dangerous.

“Our findings show that easy names can confer a host of benefits on the people who bear them.”

The researchers found that the effect changes depending on where you’re from.

While many native English speakers may find Yevgeni Dherzhinsky difficult to pronounce, for example, it wouldn’t be a problem to native Russian speakers – and so would be more likely to be seen as a trustworthy name in Russia than in the UK.

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MadeForMums Writer – Jessica Gibb

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