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]