What’s In A Name? Science Says Your Dominant Hand May Help Choose Baby Names

A new one is on the way, and you are constantly racking your brain to find the perfect name. But did you know that there may be a bit of subconscious selection, and that whether you’re right or left-handed could determine the name you choose for your baby?

In a world where QWERTY is an everyday word–even for those of us who try to moderate our usage–it turns out that there may be more to QWERTY than just keyboard-related.

Not long ago, an international team of researchers published their findings on what is called The QWERTY Effect, and they suggest that your hand dominance may play into how you go about choosing your baby’s name.

Related: Irish Baby Names You Can’t Say (But Sound Lovely When You Do)

The researchers looked into a phenomenon where it seemed there were more left-side letters in a subjects’s parent’s names (letters that are on the left side of the T, G and B keys) and more right-sided letters in a subject’s children’s names. They looked at this across five languages and discovered a similar pattern across all languages.

They found that on average, words that had more right-side letters on the QWERTY keyboard seemed to be rated more positively in meaning than letters that were on the left side. They also suggested that this phenomenon may be associated with the context of ‘right’ being ‘good’ or ‘normal’ in that an overwhelming number of humans are right-handed (those with left-hand dominance are about 10% of the world population). They believe that the positive association with the right side of a keyboard corresponds with the concept that right is good, left is not (or vice-versa if you’re a lefty). This plays into the societal norm that whatever is normal for you is more positively associated than what is not.

So how does this play into baby names? Well, the researchers looked at data of baby names that were given in the time period from 1960-2012, a time-period they correlated with as being when consumer-use technology showed up for the average human to have access too. The Internet became a ‘hit’ when America Online brought it out in 1991, and the researchers believe that 1990 was the beginning of the QWERTY era.

They found that baby names given after computer usage was a common way of life showed a stronger association with the position of keys and baby names based on feelings about those ‘keys’ than before when baby names were chosen with no QWERTY association available.

Some critics of the research found this correlation weak, and in some cases, impossible to replicate in finding, though the researchers rebutted the denouncing accusations and still maintain that the hand with which you right may still subconsciously affect your feelings about ‘left’ spaces and ‘right’ spaces.

Think of some names yourself and see if there is an association. Write your name, the names of your parents and grandparents and your children and see where each letter of each name falls on the QWERTY keyboard. Correlate with their hand-dominance (and year of birth if you can). If nothing else, it’s something cool to think about when choosing your baby’s name.

Image: veophoto/Shutterstock


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