To Sound Smarter, Use Your Middle Initial

And if you want people to trust your kid, give him an easy-to-pronounce name: studies
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2014 8:13 AM CDT
To Sound Smarter, Use Your Middle Initial
If you want to sound smart, try using your middle initial, a study says.   (Shutterstock)

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—run by researchers Wijnand A.P. van Tilburg and Eric R. Igou, who appear to be taking their own advice—focused on writing, Time reports. 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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