Thursday, 29 Jan, 2009 Science

Boys with Unpopular Names More Prone to Commit Crime?


According to the results of a study carried out by economists at the Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, the more atypical is a boy's name the greater is the probability he will commit crimes as a teenager.

The goal of the researchers was to analyze the "the relationship between first name popularity and juvenile delinquency".

Two researchers, David E. Kalist and Daniel Y. Lee, made a comparison of the first names of adolescent offenders in one of US states with the first names of youngsters that are part of the general population of that state. Each name has been assigned, what researchers call popularity-name index or PNI.

The assignment was based on the number of people with a certain name and the likelihood of that name to be linked with criminal behavior. Thus for the name Michael, the popularity-name index is 100 while foe the name David the PNI is 50. For less common names, including Alec, Ernest, Ivan, Kareem, and Malcolm the PNI was around 1.

During the analysis of young criminals, researchers found a dissimilar distribution of names compared to that of the youngsters from the general population.

The results of the study showed that young people with less common name were more likely to commit crimes, regardless of their race. The research and its results were included in a report entitled First Names and Crime: Does Unpopularity Spell Trouble? The report was published in the journal Social Science Quarterly. It outlines the fact that the names themselves are less likely to be the reason for illegal actions.

The study says that young people will less common names are more likely to get involved in a crime due to the fact that they "are treated differently by their peers, making it more difficult for them to form relationships". The authors of the research also mentioned that teenagers with unpopular names are more likely to commit crimes due to the fact that they consciously or unconsciously hate their names.

In conclusion the authors of the study state that "First name characteristics may be an important factor to help identify individuals at high risk of committing or recommitting crime, leading to more effective and targeted intervention programs".

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