They say picking a baby name is an art, not a science. But when it comes to figuring out which baby names have been linked to successful futures, there has actually been some scientific work on the subject.

Albert Mehrabian, a professor at UCLA and author of The Perfect Baby Handbook: A Guide for Excessively Motivated Parents identified 20 names associated with success. Basically, his research involved presenting thousands of people with thousands of first names, then asking what characteristics the participants thought people with those first names would have.

The idea is that by choosing a name people already associate with success, you're giving your baby an advantage by using people's existing biases in their favor.


The 20 names Mehrabian identified are:


  1. Jacqueline
  2. Morgan
  3. Elizabeth
  4. Katherine
  5. Victoria
  6. Lauraine
  7. Susan
  8. Catherine
  9. Kate
  10. Madeleine


  1. Steven
  2. Ross
  3. Christopher
  4. James
  5. Robert
  6. David
  7. Kenneth
  8. Parker
  9. Thomas
  10. Madison

Mehrabian's not the only one to study how our names influence our futures. Verdant Labs used name data and public records to examine which names are the most common in particular professions. Turns out, if you're hoping to raise a police officer, you might want to call your baby Kim or Kevin. If you'd rather raise a photographer, try Zoe or Noah.

LinkedIn also took a look at the relationship between names and occupation and found specific names do appear in CEO profiles more often than others. The social network narrowed down its list to the 10 most common for CEOs.


  1. Deborah
  2. Sally
  3. Debra
  4. Cynthia
  5. Carolyn


  1. Peter
  2. Bob
  3. Jack
  4. Bruce
  5. Fred

Like Mehrabian's names, the LinkedIn list harkens back to a particular generation, as today's CEOs are more likely to be in their 50s than 20s. Today's parents may not be keen on these exact names, wanting to opt for something a little more modern.

With name trends changing between generations, new names may become associated with success over time. If you don't like any of the names on Mehrabian's list, but want to capitalize on his theory, Mehrabian suggestions conventional, recognizable names, especially those historically associated with someone successful, as long as they are spelled in an expected way.

"When you think of 'Alexander,' you think of Alexander the Great; 'Elizabeth' and you think of Queen Elizabeth. These kinds of associations are important. General common associations to classical names, like Moses, can also have an impact," Mehrabian said in an interview with UCLA.

"The more uncommon a name becomes, the less desirable its impression. With deliberately misspelled names, the entire impression profile, meaning the first three dimensions, just collapses."

Of course, classic names with conventional spellings aren't for every parent. There's nothing stopping a Mckell, or a Korver, or a Tayzlee from becoming super successfulβ€”it's just that statistically speaking, Kate or Parker might have an advantage. But who knows? Maybe in 30 years, Tayzlee will be the name on the top of the CEO list.

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