Does Name Influence Personality?

3.6 based on 68 ratings

Updated on Dec 12, 2013

Grade Level: 6th to 8th; Type: Social Science

This experiment will use personality assessments to evaluate if certain personality traits are more common in people with unusual first names.

  • Are certain character traits more common in people with unusual first names compared to people with common first names?

Can a person’s name influence the type of person they become? This experiment will explore this question by evaluating the prevalence of specific character traits in people with unusual first names versus people with more common first names.

  • Test subjects (approximately 20 people with unusual names and 20 people with common names)
  • Myers-Briggs personality test
  • Notebook for analyzing results

  1. To determine whether a person has an unusual name or not, consult the Social Security website for a list of popular names by birth year. Ask each participant for their year of birth. Define an “unusual” name as one that does not appear in the top 500 names for a person’s specific birth year. Define a “common” name as one that is listed in the top 10 for a person’s specific birth year.
  2. Find the Myers-Briggs personality assessment online, and give it to an equal number of adults with unusual and common first names.
  3. Calculate the percentages of each of the Myers-Briggs traits (extroversion/introversion; sensing/intuition; thinking/feeling; judgment/perception) in the group with unusual names and the group with common names. Do you observe differences in the percentage of certain traits among the two groups of test subjects? Are there certain Myers-Briggs traits that are more common in test subjects with unusual names?

Example: Your data shows that 12/20 test subjects with common first names are introverts and 5/20 test subjects with unusual names are introverts. Therefore, 60% of your group with common names is introverted, compared to only 25% of your sample of people with unusual names. Based on this data, you might conclude that people with unusual names are more likely to have an extroverted personality.

Terms/Concepts: Myers-Briggs personality test, names and personality


Social Security Administration. “Popular Baby Names.”

The Myers & Briggs Foundation. “MBTI® Basics.”

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