It appears it’s not just Katie Hopkins that holds prejudice when it comes to children’s name, as new research shows.
A survey by MyNameTags and CensusWide found that there were some names that people considered naughty, and others that were considered nice.
The study, which analysed the opinions of 1,500 teachers, children and parents in the UK, asked them to look at the top 20 baby names, and rank them from what they perceived as best or worst behaved.
Mia and Jack were revealed as the UK’s naughtiest names, whilst children named Isla and Arthur are considered to be the best-behaved.
Jack, in particular, bridged the generational divide, with teachers, children and parents all agreeing that boys with the name are the most likely to misbehave.
The name Harry came in at second place for naughtiness, with Connor, Daniel, Riley and Tyler topping the list of less common boys’ names connected with bad behaviour.
When it comes to girls, Mia was the name that parents and teachers associate most strongly with mischief, but girls in general ranked as less naughty than boys.
There was a bit of a divide, however, as children answered that they expected Emilys to be the worst behaved.
These results are really rather silly and fun, but there were also some much more sinister stereotypes that people had about children’s names. In fact, as many as 96 percent of teachers, children and parents do not associate the name Mia with being clever. Surely that’s not very good.
Jack – who came up top as worst behaved – also came on the bottom of the list when it came to intelligence, suggesting that people felt that the naughtiest children also weren’t clever.
Chartered Clinical Psychologist and Scientist, Linda Blair, explains why these stereotypes exist: ‘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.
From there, something called ‘confirmatory bias’ means that the next time we see someone who matches that stereotype we affirm with ourselves that we’re right, even if there’s plenty of other information that shows we’re wrong.
‘For popular names,’ Dr Blair says, ‘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.’
Unfortunately, this is just the way of the world. We all know someone who’s ruined their name for us by being mean or ignorant. What we should probably take from it, however, is that we really shouldn’t be randomly judging children based on their names.
Because you never go full Hopkins.
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