The Impact of Your Name


Pelham said, according to his research, yes. "My work has shown very clearly that people are disproportionately likely to marry other people, to want to befriend other people if their names resemble the name of the person making the decision."

He said it's no coincidence that Tom Cruise dated Penelope Cruz, or that Paris Hilton was once engaged to Paris Latsis.

On one level, it might seem wrong to make decisions based on names. "At another level, people like their names. And the biggest symbol of who you are, in fact, is your name, and if you feel good about yourself and your name, you will feel good about anything that even vaguely resembles your name," Pelham added.

It's why he said people named Georgia are disproportionately more likely than other women to move to the state of Georgia

"It seems dumb. It seems like a crazy reason. But at another level, why not choose Georgia over Virginia? Because she is constantly surrounded by reminders of something that she loves, namely herself," Pelham said.

Avoiding Bad Names

Pelham says names can have a negative impact, as well.

"My cousin Dinky -- not going to become the CEO of a major corporation," he said.

So should parents steer away from being clever when naming their children?

"Advice to parents: It might seem cool to give your kid a unique name. But there are many, many more disadvantages to doing that than advantages," Pelham said.

That's why Pelham named his son Lincoln, which has positive associations with Abraham Lincoln.

Pelham said, "[People] associate that name with compassion and care, which is exactly what I wanted."

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