Using Your Middle Initial Can Make You Seem Smarter

Using Your Middle Initial Can Make You Seem Smarter

Using your middle initial can actually increase others' perceptions of your intelligence, according to a recent study. In a collection of experiments on the subject, psychologiests found that using middle initials increased participants' evaluations of writing performance and status — but only in intellectual settings.

Picture: George Redgrave/Flickr

For example, in one study, 85 participants read a passage about Einstein's theory of relativity. Some participants were given a passage with the author "David Clark", while other passages were credited to "David F. Clark", "David F. P. Clark" and "David F. P. R. Clark". Passages that included the middle initial(s) were rated as higher quality writing than the passage without.

Again, this only really works in intellectual settings, so don't go around introducing yourself at parties as "John F. P. Merryweather". But if you're writing a book or beefing up your résumé, it might be worth including.

The impact of middle names: Middle name initials enhance evaluations of intellectual performance [European Journal of Social Psychology via Fast Company]


Comments

    .....but I don't have a middle initial.....

      Then you, my friend, are in a perfect position to run off to Deed Poll and pick yourself whatever initial you like.

      Just use an 'X' because it looks cool.

    This reminds me of Stephen K Amos' stand-up this year, using a letter in front of or behind gives off a sense of grandeur more so than a name.

    Think L. Ron Hubbard, J. R. R. Tolkein, J. K. Rowling, M. Night Shyamalan, Louis CK.
    Thus LL Cool J must be superior to all of them because he has letter both before AND after.

    Last edited 07/05/14 11:48 am

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