Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Follow up on previous blog post about unusual names for boys

Back in August 2009 I posted this blog with my comments on some stories (countering what they say) I found which say that unusual names affect boys in a negative way. I was looking again at the story at the first link in that blog and found that it's mathematically skewed. Here's a quote from a post I made on that at Nameberry (also quoted at the bottom is a line about confusing black or unfavorably-ethnic names with those that are merely uncommon):

If I recall correctly the most popular name got a 100 and a name with half as many bearers got a 50, a quarter of the most popular name was a 25, and so on. What that does is overweigh the results of just the few most popular names (whether that be good or bad) and underweighs the result of the less common names (which in this case gives the author a false or at least skewed conclusion). The mathematically correct way to conduct this experiment is instead of the aforementioned scale use the actual percentages to compute the results (if that is a bit unwidely taking the reciprocal of the precentages will yield the same results, this time with a higher value corresponding to a more unusual name).

Also, those who are doing such studies need to separate the concept of black or other unfavorably-ethnic names from those that are merely unusual (with the former there have been valid studies about resume response with such names, etc.).

1 comment:

  1. I'm loathe to admit that the maths is beyond me, but I thought about your second point when I followed the link to the article, as they gave Kareem as an example of an unusual name.

    The article was from a British paper, and there are a very large amount of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi people living here. Among those ethnic groups Kareem is fairly popular. There tend to be areas with exponentially large communities of Asians, partly because recent immigrants will go and live next to Aunt So-and-so in order to minimise the culture shock. As which school you go to is determined by where you live, some schools are made up almost entirely of a certain ethnic group. So many Kareems will go to school with a lot of other Kareems, and no-one would tease them at all, which takes that factor out of any later criminal behaviour.