How a name can shape your life (and job prospects)

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'What's In A Name?' More Than You Think

In Shakespeare's tragedy "Romeo & Juliet," Juliet asks Romeo, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Well, it turns out there may be a little more to names than that.

A recent article published in The Atlantic points out that names have the power to shape our our lives, including job prospects. In professional fields that are often dominated by men, like lawyers or engineers, women with sexually ambiguous names are more likely to find success.

Not to mix our Shakespeare references, but it's called the "Portia Effect," named after a character in the comedy "Merchant of Venice." During the play, Portia disguises herself and changes her name so that people will believe she is a lawyer's male apprentice in order to save a merchant. Like the "Merchant of Venice," studies have shown the more masculine the name, the more successful the female lawyer.

Another easy way to boost those chances, according to a study out of the universities of Southampton and Limerick, just add a middle name.

Psychologists have found using a middle initial boosts a person's social status in the eyes of others as they're associated with professions like lawyers and doctors, though an article published last month in the New York Times reported that middle initials are becoming less and less common.

So, in review, a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet -- but Rose wouldn't be the best name if you want your little girl to become a lawyer.

What's in a name? Check out how many people have unexpected (or famous) monikers:
Crazy copy cat names
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How a name can shape your life (and job prospects)

Albert Einstein 

13 people in the United States are named Albert Einstein.


 Kermit the Frog

4 people are named Kermit Frog in the United States.

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

David and Goliath 

1 person in the United States is named Dave Goliath.

 (Photo by: SeM/UIG via Getty Images)

Joseph Stalin

2 people in the United States are named Joseph Stalin.

(Photo by: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)

Benito Mussolini

1 person in the United States is named Ben Mussolini.

 (AP Photo)

Peter Pan

15 people in the United States are named Peter Pan.

 (AP Photo/Solters & Roskin, Inc.)

Jedi Knights

While no one in the United States in named Jedi Knight there are 7 people named Jed Knight.

 (Photo by Stefan Jeremiah/FilmMagic)

Mercedes Benz 

29 are named Mercedes Benz in the United States. 

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)


232 people are named Spanky in the United States.

(Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

Justin Timberlake

4 people are named Justin Timberlake in the United States.

(Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

Ron Burgundy

6 people are named Ron Burgundy in the United States.

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Elvis Presley

48 people are named Elvis Presley in the United States.

 (Photo by Bob Thomas/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

This undated publicity image originally released by United Artists shows Sylvester Stallone posing in character as Rocky Balboa in the boxing film, "Rocky." It's been a knock-out in Germany. Now Stallone hopes a musical based on his beloved boxing film “Rocky” will also be a hit on Broadway. Producers say they hope to get “Rocky” up and punching at the Winter Garden by February following a successful debut in Hamburg last fall. Based on the Oscar-winning 1976 film, the musical features a score by “Ragtime” veterans Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, and a story by Thomas Meehan, who wrote “The Producers” and “Hairspray.” (AP Photo/United Artists)


3,654 baby girls were named Khloe in 2013. According to the Social Security Administration, it was the 79th most popular baby name in 2013 

(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)


1,135 girls were named Arya in 2013. The name starting appear on the Social Security Administration's Top 1000 baby names in 2010, which coincides with the filming of the show. It was the 277th most popular girl's name in 2013.

(Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images)


794 girls were named Miley in 2013. The name first appeared on the Social Security Administration's top 1000 list in 2007. It is the 388th most popular girl's name in 2013. This number is down from 2008 when Miley peaked at 128.

 (AP Photo/POLFOTO, Mogens Flindt) DENMARK OUT


560 girls were named Elsa in 2013. The name has been on the Social Security Administration's list of top 1000 baby name for over a decade, but after the release of 'Frozen' the name hit grew to the most popularity to date. (AP Photo/Disney)


353 girls were named Monroe in 2013. The name first started appearing on the Social Security Administration's Top 1000 list in 2012. Or perhaps President Monroe has something to do with the name popularity?

 (AP Photo)


299 girls were named Kourtney in 2013. 



287 girls were named Gwyneth in 2013. The Social Security Administration notes that Gwyneth is not a particularly popular name. It was the 886th most popular name in 2013 and also made the Top 1000 list in 2012, but does not break into the list prior to that year.

(AP Photo/Axel Schmidt)


263 baby girls were named Rihanna in 2013.

 (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)


241 girls were named Khaleesi in 2013. Khaleesi is the official title of Daenerys Targaryen in the 'Game of Thrones' TV show and books. 14 girls were also named Khalessi. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)


218 girls were named Suri in 2013. Suri is the name of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise's daughter. 

(Photo by Raymond Hall/FilmMagic)


206 girls were named Aniston, the surname of actress Jennifer Aniston, in 2013. 

(Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)


135 girls were named Renesmee in 2013. Renesmee is the name of the child of characters Edward Cullen and Bella Swan in the hit series 'Twilight.'

 (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)


133 girls were named Channing in 2013. Channing is the first name of actor Channing Tatum. 

(Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)


130 girls were named Shae in 2013. Shae is the name of a character in the 'Game of Thrones' series.

AP Photo/Abraham Caro Marin)


109 girls were named Merida in 2013. Merida is the main character in Disney/Pixar's movie 'Brave.' 

(AP Photo/Disney/Pixar, File)


78 girls were named Pippa in 2013. Pippa Middleton is sister to the Duchess of Cambridge. Pippa's nickname is short for Philippa. 

(Photo by Antony Jones/Julian Parker/Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)


58 girls were named Shakira in 2013.

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Billboard Awards 2014/Getty Images for DCP)


51 girls were named Solange in 2013. Solange is a singer and Beyonce's younger sister. 

(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)


48 girls were named Wednesday in 2013.

Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)


47 girls were named Hermione in 2013 after the 'Harry Potter' character.

 (AP Photo/Warner Bros., Murray Close) ** NO SALES **


34 girls were named Primrose in 2013. Primrose is the name of Katniss Everdeen's sister in 'The Hunger Games.'

(Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)


28 girls were named Beyonce in 2013.

(Photo by Larry Busacca/PW/WireImage for Parkwood Entertainment)


27 girls were named Mulan in 2013 after the title character in Disney's 'Mulan.'

(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)


27 girls were named Rue in 2013. Rue is the name of a character in 'The Hunger Games.'

(AP Photo/Lionsgate)


21 girls were named Blue in 2013. Blue is part of Beyonce and Jay Z's daughter's name, Blue Ivy.

  (Photo by Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)


1207 baby boys were named Drake in 2013.

 (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)


576 boys were named Zayne in 2013. Zayne (pictured center) is part of the boy band One Direction.

(Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)


483 boys were named Tatum in 2013. Tatum is the last name of actor Channing Tatum.

(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)


467 boys were named Channing in 2013. Channing is the first name of actor Channing Tatum.

(AP Photo/Warner Bros., Claudette Barius)


446 boys were named Cullen in 2013. Cullen is the last name of the vampire family in the series 'Twilight.' 

(Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)


359 boys were named Flynn in 2013. Flynn Rider is a character in Disney's 'Tangled.'

Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)


94 boys were named Thor in 2013. Thor is a character in Marvel Comics that has gained more attention lately by being portrayed by Chris Hemsworth in 'The Avengers.'

(Photo by Denis Poroy/Invision/AP)


86 babies were named Loki in 2013. Loki is a Marvel character and Nordic god that has been popularized in the movie 'The Avengers.' 

(Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)


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