Why Using Your Middle Initial Will Make You Sound Smarter
Want to be seen as an intellectual? Here’s an easy first step: Start using your middle initial in writing. Doing so, a study finds, boosts “positive evaluations of people’s intellectual capacities and achievements.”
The study was run by researchers Wijnand A.P. van Tilburg and Eric R. Igou, who appear to be taking their own advice. The investigators reached their conclusions after giving subjects a scientific article attributed to, variously, David Clark, David F. Clark, David F.P. Clark, or David F.P.R. Clark, the New Republic reports.
David F.P.R. Clark fared best in subjects’ assessments of the author’s ability, while David F. Clark still beat David Clark. Also helpful, when it comes to names: ease of pronunciation, another study finds. Subjects were given trivia statements (like “giraffes are the only mammals that cannot jump”), which were associated with various names. The statements linked to names considered easier to pronounce were more trusted by subjects, Scientific American reports. A study on company names had similar results. Firms with easier-to-pronounce names apparently do better in the stock market, the magazine notes. (One name you definitely want to avoid? God.)
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