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article imageCan your first name hurt your chances in online dating?

By Chanah Rubenstein     Jan 6, 2012 in Internet
If you're one of the millions of people who use dating sites to find a potential partner, beware, according to a new study by German researchers. Your name could be hindering your chances of finding "the one."
Unfortunate First Names: Effects of Name-Based Relational Devaluation and Interpersonal Neglect, a study out of Humboldt University in Berlin, says that German dating website profiles with "unattractive names" are visited less often than those with "attractive names."
Which names are less favourable? According to the study, male profiles with the name Kevin or Justin were overlooked more than other male names. Female profiles under the names Mandy or Chantal were ignored in favour of more traditional names. Other unfavourable names include, Marvin, Dennis, Celina and Jacqueline.
So which names are most 'attractive'? The study indicates that more traditional names in German speaking countries fare best. Jacob, Alexander and Max come out on top for men and Charlotte, Emma and Hannah see better results for the women.
The study came to such conclusions by sending out emails to 47,000 members of the dating site eDarling (members are usually from Germany, Austria and Switzerland), reports CTV News. According to The Daily Mail, no pictures were sent out, only names (English-sounding), ages and postcodes.
Jochen Gebauer, who led the study, said "Mails sent from an Alexander were clicked on 102 per cent more times than those from a Kevin." He added, "Single people would seem to prefer to remain alone than meet up with someone called Kevin or Chantal."
Why is there such a negative reaction to the names Kevin and Chantal? According to a German study in 2009, there are negative connotations attached the names that relate to behaviour and class.
The study found that most teachers have pre-existing prejudices that are based on names and subsequently the children suffer from them. The study questioned 2000 elementary school teachers anonymously and found that the children with traditional German names were linked to good behaviour and strong performances, but those with names such as Kevin and Mandy, were associated with bad behaviour and poor performances in school. One study participant even went so far as to comment that "Kevin is not a name - it's a diagnosis!"
Those with 'unfortunate' names are linked to the working class or an immigrant background, reports The Local, and it's clear to study lead Professor Astrid Kaiser that, “These prejudices undoubtedly widen a pre-existing class divide.”
There have been many studies citing prejudices based of first names. A recent study out of the University of Toronto found that those with Anglo-friendly names were up to 47% more likely to get a call back on a resume than those with foreign-sounding names. According to HR professionals, this is likely due to concern over language and social skills.
Unfortunate First Names: Effects of Name-Based Relational Devaluation and Interpersonal Neglect is published in the journal, Social Psychological and Personality Sciences.
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