Relation of Name Frequency to the Perception of Social Class in Given Names


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Abstract

In a study of the relationship between name frequency and perceived social class, 116 college students rated the perceived social class of a list of either 60 male names or 60 female names. Each list consisted of equal numbers of common, less common, dated, or rare names. An analysis of variance indicated significant main effects of sex of name and frequency of name as well as a significant interaction between those two variables. The respondents rated the men's names as higher in social class than the women's names. Post hoc comparisons indicated that rare names of either sex were rated as lower in class status than were common, less common, or dated names. While dated women's names were rated lower than were common and less common women's names, dated men's names were not adversely affected in a comparison with common or less common men's names.

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