13 surprising ways your name affects your success

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
What's in a Name? Money, Apparently

What's in a name? Potentially your future.

A host of research shows just how much your name can affect your lifetime success, from your hireability to your spending habits.

We took a look at the research and have highlighted some of the surprising findings below.

Maggie Zhang contributed to an earlier version of this article.

If your name is easy to pronounce, people will favor you more.

In a New York University study, researchers found that people with easier-to-pronounce names often have higher-status positions at work. One of the psychologists, Adam Alter, explains to Wired, "When we can process a piece of information more easily, when it's easier to comprehend, we come to like it more." In a further study, Alter also found that companies with simpler names and ticker symbols tended to perform better in the stock market.

If your name is common, you are more likely to be hired.

In a Marquette University study, the researchers found evidence to suggest that names that were viewed as the least unique were more likable. People with common names were more likely to be hired, and those with rare names were least likely to be hired. That means that the Jameses, Marys, Johns, and Patricias of the world are in luck.

Uncommon names are associated with juvenile delinquency.

A 2009 study at Shippensburg University suggested that there's a strong relationship between the popularity of one's first name and juvenile criminal behavior. Researchers found that, regardless of race, young people with unpopular names were more likely to engage in criminal activity. The findings obviously don't show that the unusual names caused the behavior, but merely show a link between the two things. And the researchers have some theories about their findings. "Adolescents with unpopular names may be more prone to crime because they are treated differently by their peers, making it more difficult for them to form relationships," they write in a statement from the journal's publisher. "Juveniles with unpopular names may also act out because they ... dislike their names."

If you have a white-sounding name, you're more likely to get hired.

In one study cited by The Atlantic, white-sounding names like Emily Walsh and Greg Baker got nearly 50% more callbacks than candidates with black-sounding names like Lakisha Washington and Jamal Jones. Researchers determined that having a white-sounding name is worth as much as eight years of work experience.

If your last name is closer to the beginning of the alphabet, you could get into a better school.

For a study published in the Economics of Education Review, researchers studied the relationship between the position in the alphabet of more than 90,000 Czech students' last names and their admission chances at competitive schools. They found that even though students with last names that were low in the alphabet tended to get higher test scores overall, among the students who applied to universities and were on the margins of getting admitted or not, those with last names that were close to the top of the alphabet were more likely to be admitted.

If your last name is closer to the end of the alphabet, you're more likely to be an impulse spender.

According to one study, people with last names such as Yardley or Zabar may be more susceptible to promotional strategies like limited-time offers. The authors speculate that spending your childhood at the end of the roll call may make you want to jump on offers before you miss the chance.

Using your middle initial makes people think you're smarter and more competent.

According to research published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, using a middle initial increases people's perceptions of your intellectual capacity and performance. In one study, students were asked to rate an essay with one of four styles of author names. Not only did the authors with a middle initial receive top marks, but the one with the most initials, David F.P.R. Clark, received the best reviews.

You are more likely to work in a company that matches your initials.

Since we identify with our names, we prefer things that are similar to them. In a Ghent University study, researchers found that people are more likely to work for companies matching their own initials. For example, Brian Ingborg might work for Business Insider. The rarer the initials, the more likely people were to work for companies with names similar to their own.

If your name sounds noble, you are more likely to work in a high-ranking position.

In a European study, researchers studied German names and ranks within companies. Those with last names such as Kaiser ("emperor") or König ("king") were in more managerial positions than those with last names that referred to common occupations, such as Koch ("cook") or Bauer ("farmer"). This could be the result of associative reasoning, a psychological theory describing a type of thinking in which people automatically link emotions and previous knowledge with similar words or phrases.

If you are a boy with a girl's name, you could be more likely to be suspended from school.

For his 2005 study, University of Florida economics professor David Figlio studied a large Florida school district from 1996 to 2000 and found that boys with names most commonly given to girls misbehaved more in middle school and were more likely to disrupt their peers. He also found that their behavioral problems were linked with increased disciplinary problems and lower test scores.

If you are a woman with a gender-neutral name, you may be more likely to succeed in certain fields.

According to The Atlantic, in male-dominated fields such as engineering and law, women with gender-neutral names may be more successful. One study found that women with "masculine names" like Leslie, Jan, or Cameron tended to be more successful in legal careers.

Related: Successful people with gender-neutral names:

20 PHOTOS
Celebs with gender neutral names
See Gallery
13 surprising ways your name affects your success
Actress Reese Witherspoon attends the Hot Pursuit photocall at Saint Regis Hotel on June 23, 2015 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/LatinContent/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches his tee shot on the 14th hole during the final round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 21, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Taylor Swift performs live on stage during 'The 1989 World Tour' night 2 at Lanxess Arena on June 20, 2015 in Cologne, Germany. (Photo by Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images for TAS)
Actor Taylor Lautner attends the premiere of "Grown Ups 2" at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Carson Daly arrives at "The Voice" Red Carpet Event on Monday, Dec. 08, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Tyler Perry speaks at the 7th Annual Produced By Conference presented by Producers Guild of America at Paramount Pictures Studios on Sunday, May 31, 2015 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision for Producers Guild of America/AP Images)
Actor Hayden Christensen seen at the premiere of "American Heist" at the Princess of Wales Theatre during the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, in Toronto. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)
Actress Blake Lively attends the premiere of "The Age of Adaline" at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square on Sunday, April 19, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Musician Blake Shelton performs onstage during day three of 2015 Stagecoach, California's Country Music Festival, at The Empire Polo Club on April 26, 2015 in Indio, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Stagecoach)
Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos runs the offense against the Indianapolis Colts during a 2015 AFC Divisional Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 11, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Adrien Brody arrives at the 2015 Independent Spirit Awards on February, 21, 2015, in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/AFP/Getty Images)
Actress Aubrey Plaza poses at the "Make Equality Reality" event at the Montage Hotel on Monday, Nov. 3, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
TV personality Kelly Ripa attends the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Actor Jamie Foxx addresses the audience during the SeriousFun Children's Network event at the Dolby Theatre on Thursday, May 14, 2015, in Los Angeles. Founded by the actor Paul Newman in 1988, the network is a global community of 30 camps and programs serving children living with serious illnesses. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Jamie Lee Curtis, a cast member in "Spare Parts," poses at the premiere of the film at Arclight Cinemas on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Actress Dakota Fanning attends IWC Schaffhausen's "For the Love of Cinema" Tribeca Film Festival gala dinner at Spring Street Studios on Thursday, April 16, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP)
Kelsey Grammer attends the 2015 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
In this Dec. 16, 2014 file photo, actress Cameron Diaz poses for photographs during a photo call for the film Annie at the Corinthia hotel in central London. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP, File)
Actress Drew Barrymore attends Safe Kids Day at The Lot on April 26, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


Men with shorter first names are overrepresented in the c-suite.

In 2011, LinkedIn analyzed more than 100 million user profiles to find out which names are most associated with the CEO position. The most common names for men were short, often one-syllable names like Bob, Jack, and Bruce. A name specialist speculates that men in power may use nicknames to offer a sense of friendliness and openness.

Women at the top are more likely to use their full names.

In the same study, LinkedIn researchers found that the most common names of female CEOs include Deborah, Cynthia, and Carolyn. Unlike the men, women may use their full names in an attempt to project professionalism and gravitas, according to the report.

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Science says parents of successful kids have these 9 things in common

Read Full Story

People are Reading