Nov
16
2007

Why Arnie gets good grades and Fred fails – It’s in the initials

What's this student's name?: New studies show that there's more than coincidence to students' grades and the first letters of their names. The "name-letter" effect shows more students with names starting with "C" or "D" getting lower grades than students with names starting with "A"
What's this student's name?: New studies show that there's more than coincidence to students' grades and the first letters of their names. The "name-letter" effect shows more students with names starting with "C" or "D" getting lower grades than students with names starting with "A"Courtesy Mobilski
This is pretty weird, but people have data to back it up. I guess that makes me solidly in the skeptical category.

Recent studies conducted by researchers at Yale and California-San Diego have found that the letters of your name can have a big impact on the success or failure you experience in life. It’s called the “name-letter effect.”

Stay with me here. According to the research, students with names that started with “C” or “D” generally had lower grades than students whose names start with “A” or “B.” Likewise, major league baseball players with a name that starts with “K” were statistically more likely to strike out at the plate than other hitters. “K” is the baseball scoring symbol for a strikeout.

And through more analysis of the “name-letter effect,” it appears that it works more regularly in a negative way than positively. And when you get down to the finer print, researchers admit that the trends are only slight, but larger than you would associate with things just being coincidental.

So what do you think? Share your thoughts here on the “name-letter effect.” Have you seen it at play in your life experience?

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Gene's picture
Gene says:

A better headline would have been "Why Arnie aces..." ;-)

You don't link to the report, so I can't really comment on it. As far as the grades go, I wonder if the student name isn't subconsciously affecting the teacher. When the paper is borderline, they go for the alliteration.

As for the strikeout thing, again, there may be some subtle influence on umpires calling strikes. But a more likely explanation is this: SOME letter has to be first, and it was just a 1-in-26 coincidence. (Actually, probably less than that, given the paucity of players with last names beginning with Q and X.) But I'd like to know what "strike out more" means? More total strikeouts? Or a higher rate of strikeouts? Or perhaps it's more strikeouts by pitchers with that name, in which case Sand Koufax is skewing the results! ;-)

posted on Mon, 11/19/2007 - 6:41pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Well, this does explain why I kept getting "J"s in Social Studies.

posted on Tue, 11/20/2007 - 1:50am
a responder's picture
a responder says:

this is really cool but it still does not explain why I get "b"s and"c"s when my name starts with ''A'' :-)

posted on Fri, 11/23/2007 - 11:17am

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