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Boys With Unpopular Names More Likely to Commit Crimes

Beware of naming your baby boy Ivan, Malcolm, Alec or Ernest:  you could be setting him up for a life of crime.

Two economics professors (inoffensively named David and Daniel) at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania compared the first names of male juvenile delinquents to the first names of male juveniles in the population, and came up with a popularity name index (PNI) for each name.  They concluded that, regardless of race, boys with unpopular names are more likely to engage in criminal activity.

Their study was published in the January issue of Social Science Quarterly, and the publisher stated:

"adolescents with unpopular names may be more prone to crime because they are treated differently by their peers, making it more difficult for them to form relationships... Juveniles with unpopular names may also act out because they consciously or unconsciously dislike their names."


From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by Marilyn Terrell.

Oh my god: Hollywood has been spawning a future criminal syndicate. Pilot Inspektor? Suri Cruise? Kal-El, Scout, AUDIO SCIENCE...
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According to one study conducted by the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a decline in the number of pirates corresponds to the recent rise in global temperatures.

In other words, correlation doesn't necessarily imply causality.
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I'm not sure if the study went into any depth or not about why the kids were named as such. A similar study was done in the book "Freakonomics" which I suggest everyone should read. It seems in reality that usually lower income, crime ridden, etc. areas of the country, have mothers that are more likely to give their kids obscure names. This does not imply that the name is what caused them to be criminals, but rather; where they come from. This study was geared toward the obscure black kids names that you hear so often, like "Juwan", "Guquanda", or whatever else you can come up with to make your baby "special".
As steohawk said: "In other words, correlation doesn’t necessarily imply causality."
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Agree with Kevin, too.

Also, the "traditional" names tend to be "Biblical" names, chosen by parents who might have been raised in Christianity or at least have some religious influence. Those parents are probably much more stable than the parents who just want to set a trend with an unusual name.
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I have to go with Paulio and Kevin on this one. You can't just jump right out and call a study like this "a crock" or something like that. It is, in fact, based on hard facts and numbers. We have the names of people who have a criminal record. We have the names of people who don't have a criminal record. We have the names of babies born in the last X numbers of years, and can rank which ones were used the most. Therefore, we can correlate the names of the criminal and non-criminal citizens to the names on that baby name list. That's not a crock, and short of leafing through the research paper and examining the methodology, it's hard to say that the findings are invalid. However, as far as causation goes, saying someone with a different name was treated differently than their peers and therefore committed crimes is pushing it a little. Note they use the word "may" when describing that. It's just part of a bigger theory. I would guess it's much more likely that the people who give their kids "normal" (meaning: far more common on the list of recently named babies) names are much more likely to raise their kids in a "normal" (meaning: respectful, undramatic, legal) way than those parents who don't name their kids with a "normal" name. Since it is parents who give names to their kids, they must become part of the equation. Now, if all children were assigned names at random upon birth, then we'd have a whole new study on our hands.
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I hate things like this. Most logicians know the old axiom "Correlation does not imply causation." These kinds of 'studies' spread false information and false reinforce false thinking habits. :c

At most, you can notice a trend or pattern, but there's so many other factors that could be playing into it, that it's illogical (by definition) to claim one causes the other. (and using the terms 'is more likely' is often read by the masses as meaning the same thing. Then again, media had been using thought-influeincing terminology for quite a long time. Just watch Fox news and see. Wait, I take that back, DONT watch it! D: ).
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