What's in a Name?

My Nametags's research reveals the UK's naughtiest children's names.

What's in a name with My Nametags labels

What's in a Nme

We know that there are strong stereotypes attached to names and many of us are guilty of making assumptions about people based on their first name alone. So, when the top 20 baby names for 2019 were unveiled, we were keen to find out more about what people really think about children with these popular names. We researched 1,500 teachers, parents and primary school children to get their honest opinions

As suspected, there were strong stereotypes around each of the names. However, we were surprised to find that these beliefs are formed from a very young age, with children and adults both quick to make judgements about a child based on their first name alone

  • Jack - considered to be the naughtiest and the least intelligent
  • Mia - voted by teachers and parents as the most likely girls to misbehave
  • Emily - the girl’s name children associate most strongly with bad behaviour
  • Isla - expected to be the best behaved
  • Arthur - considered to be shy and well behaved
  • Grace - associated with the most introverted girls
  • Charlie - the name most strongly connected to confidence
  • Olivia - girls with this name expected to be the most self-assured
  • George - considered to be the most intelligent and kind
  • Isabella - tops the list for girls when it comes to intelligence
  • Harry - assumed to be the most spoilt

What the Experts say

We worked with Chartered Clinical Psychologist and Scientist, Linda Blair, to find out more about why these stereotypes exist. Commenting on our findings, Linda said: “In today’s information-rich world, we’re exposed to far more data than we can deal with at any given moment. To help sort through this avalanche, we form stereotypes about what people will be like based on only a few easily obtained facts such as facial expression, body posture and a person’s name. “Rather than making judgments about others scientifically - taking a dispassionate look at everyone called Noah or Isabella, for example - we create our stereotypes using just the people we know, as well as those we think we know, via social and other media.

“Once we’ve formed a stereotype, it becomes fixed in our minds because of a phenomenon known as ‘confirmatory bias’. This is when we look for and remember people who match up to the stereotype we’ve formed, while at the same time ignoring information that doesn’t fit. This is why we become so convinced our stereotypes are correct. For popular names, these stereotypes are likely to be at the forefront of our minds because most of us will already know or have read about someone called Jack, Harry or Emily - and we’re quite likely to meet more of them.”

What's in a Name?

Using these insights, we have created a Playbuzz quiz to help expectant parents decide what to name their child based on the traits that are most important to them

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