No wonder I am not a math genius

Darren Barefoot talks about the correlation between girls' names and math proficiency. I read Freakonomics with a critical eye and while I understand the socio-economic argument around child naming, I don't see a big difference between Isabella and Abigail (incidentally, I have friends with children named each of those names....both will be wildly successful, I am sure).

I get that a name can create perceptions of a child before the person meets the child. But once the child has been met, I think perceptions are adjusted. Maybe that's easy for me to say, I was a tomboy with messy hair named Heather (which I perceive to be a girly name but I'm not sure if that's true linguistically). I never really felt it fit me, but I never felt that people treated me as a delicate flower because of it, so it was just more slightly annoying to have that name but never a really mattered.

Having a math major for a father probably had more of an influence on my math proficiency than anything else; truth be told, probably kept me from being an English major in college.

Comments (4)

  1. Bad_Brad says:

    If I may use my otherwise worthless Psychology undergraduate degree for a moment … studies have been done which show very clearly that people ascribe certain qualities simply to the name of a person – everything from age to race to intelligence to athleticism to beauty.  I suppose it’s simpler for our minds to accept that Kaitlyn is a delicate white girl from the suburbs while Sha’neeQua is a tough black girl from the inner city.  Unfortunately, these pre-conceptions in our human minds have resulted in racism in things like loan and rental applications and job applications, among other things.

  2. phil h says:

    So what was your major in college?

  3. Wine-Oh says:

    My dad and brother are math saavy while my mother and I are more creative. I was not blessed with the math DNA. Takes me a while to figure out stuff and i still count on my fingers. I get there eventually.

    While I did get an MBA I hated the finance, accounting and stat classes. I needed some help in those classes and it took my dad and brother to help out a bit. My friends who were CPAs and econ majors always complained they hated the marketing classes and I loved them. So to each their own:)

  4. HeatherLeigh says:

    Bad_Brad, that makes sense. The part I don’t understand, I guess, is the more subtle difference between Abigail and Isabella.

    phil h – mine? Business. I was in the Entrepreneur Program.

    Wine-Oh, I think you and I are similar in that regard. I take after my dad in many ways, but the math gene isn’t one of them. I’m more of a creative thinker myself. Stats was mind-numbing. I’ve become much more interested in numbers as I’ve matured. Now, I can look at numbers and devise a story by comparing things, etc. But when more than a few variables involved, I can pretty much check out of the conversation. Having said that, I absolutely loved my MBA level Macroeconomics class. Loved it.

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