Apr 242013

This Freakonomics Radio podcast: The gist: a kid’s name can tell us something about his parents — their race, social standing, even their politics. But is your name really your destiny?

The episode draws from a Freakonomics chapter called “A Roshanda By Any Other Name” and includes a good bit of new research on the power of names. It opens with a conversation with NYU sociologist Dalton Conley and his two children, E and Yo. Their names are a bit of an experiment:

”CONLEY: Of course it’s hard to separate out cause and effect here until Kim Jong-Un allows me to randomly assign all the names of the North Korean kids…but my gut tells me that it does affect who you are and how you behave and probably makes you more creative to have an unusual name.”


Stephen J. DUBNER: Dalton Conley is a sociologist at NYU. He has a book coming out soon, called Parentology. It’s about – well, here, let’s have him tell you:

Dalton CONLEY: I think the subtitle says it all, which is, “A Social Scientist Experiments on His Kids So You Don’t Have To.” So, here they are.

DUBNER: Okay, so here they are. You guys want to introduce yourselves? I don’t care who goes first.

E: Okay, I’m E, like the letter. I’m 15. And I’m a student.

DUBNER: Okay, hi E.

YO: I’m Yo, in like the slang. I’m 13. And I’m a student, too.


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Source: Freakonomics

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