Your Name May Be Exactly What You Are Friday, 6 June 2003; Study Finds Common Names Possess Unique Personality Traits

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), June 6, 2003 | Go to article overview

Your Name May Be Exactly What You Are Friday, 6 June 2003; Study Finds Common Names Possess Unique Personality Traits


Byline: Catrin Pascoe

DAVIES the sporty and Evans the computer whiz kid - your child's future may be mapped out in their surname.

Common Welsh surnames such as Williams and Jones possess unique personality traits, academic strengths and even future career prospects, the first-ever research of its kind reveals today. It found Master Morgan is likely to become a management consultant and Miss Thomas a policewoman after studying 1,300 children aged between four and 11 at play.

The family learning charity XL Wales, armed with Lego, K'NEX and computer games, discovered children with certain surnames preferred certain games. From these results it has created six profiles to match the surnames Davies, Evans, Jones, Morgan, Thomas and Williams.

The charity's Clare Fry said, ``This research proves that as well as nature and nurture, your family surname could also have a role to play.

``I'm sure that there may well be some merit in schools, careers advisers or even employers further exploring the notion of name profiles.''

Margaret King, a teacher at Pentre-Poweth Infants School in Swansea, who has five pupils with the surnames on her 18-strong register, said, ``The traits are there, you can see that, but I had not noticed it until I read this research.''

The charity plans to test the theories further at several play days being held this month at its Family Technology Centre in Swansea. But experts warn the uni-versal descriptions could not be relied on alone to tailor a child's individual development. They say youngsters could feel excluded if a profile matching their surname did not match their talents.

Rhys Williams, of the National Union of Teachers Cymru, said, ``If it draws people's attention to the various skills that are available, I do not see anything bad in that. But the danger is it's a bit like astrology - sometimes the characteristics fit and sometimes not.''

Take those named Evans for example. The research showed they would probably excel at quiz shows but just four out of the 400 who have taken the Who Wants to be a Million-aire? hotseat have been named Evans since the gameshow first aired in September 1998. Grant Evans, the last to appear in Spring 2000, took home the most - a cheque for pounds 64,000.

Occupational psychologist Professor Cary Cooper said, ``The danger in believing the research is if you have a Jones who is really good at art they could be pushed down the maths route because their profile says so. It's streamlining them on the basis of their name and it's dangerous.

``And it is effectively ste-reotyping someone before they open their mouth - that's the other possible downside.''

But Geraint Davies, secretary of teaching union NASUWT Cymru, believes the study is positive because it proves children will grow up to replace the experts Wales has in every field. He said, ``Your surname is an accident of birth but the survey shows that no matter what your surname there are people of a young age in Wales showing excellence in various skills.

``We need to be careful that we properly nurture that talent over the next couple of decades.'' Studies from America have also shown that certain surnames are predisposed to distinct behavioural patterns. Similar studies in the UK suggest that people with more common names tend to be more successful in school and at work.

DAVIES

Characteristics Tend to enjoy creating things with their hands rather than using a compu t e r. They have excellent motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination, indicating they excel in sport. Possible careers include construction and mechanical engineering. A Davies says ``I play touch rugby, I go to the gym, play tennis, swim. I have to use a computer every day so I have become computer literate. But when I was at university I tended to write tasks up rather then type them.'' Trainee solicitor Helen Davies, 25, is from Cardiff. …

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