Get access

The impact of middle names: Middle name initials enhance evaluations of intellectual performance

Authors


Correspondence to: Wijnand A. P. van Tilburg, Centre for Research on Self and Identity, School of Psychology, University of Southampton, University Road, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK.

E-mail: W.A.Van-Tilburg@soton.ac.uk

Abstract

Middle name initials often appear in formal contexts, especially when people refer to intellectual achievements. On the basis of this common link, the display of middle initials increases positive evaluations of people's intellectual capacities and achievements. We document this effect in seven studies: Middle initials in authors' names increased the evaluation of their writing performance (Study 1), and middle initials increased perceptions of status (Studies 2 and 4). Moreover, the middle initials effect was specific to intellectual performance (Studies 3 and 6), and it was mediated by perceived status (Studies 5–7). Besides supporting our hypotheses, the results of these studies yield important implication for everyday life. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Ancillary