Navigation Links
Babies named for fathers but not mothers reflect US cultural ideologies
Date:11/7/2013

November 7, 2013 - From Cal Ripkin, Jr., to MLK to Robert Downey, Jr., finding men named after their fathers is easy. Children named after men in the family with so-called patronyms are common around the world. But what about matronymns names for a mother or grandmother? New research shows that matronymns are rare and that family naming trends follow a regional pattern in the United States: People in states with a relatively high emphasis on honor are more likely to use patronyms, especially in the face of a terrorist threat.

"Studying naming trends can be a subtle means of peering into a society's beliefs and values without ever having to ask people to report directly about their beliefs and values," says Ryan Brown of the University of Oklahoma. Brown is not an expert in baby names but rather studies cultural values and trends. He became interested in the connection between names and cultural values when his collaborator, Mauricio Carvallo, was researching names for his new baby girl. They started to wonder whether values associated with honor and reputation affected whether people named their children after men or women in the family.

Social scientists define "cultures of honor" as places where the defense of reputation plays an unusually important role in social life. "For men in a typical honor culture, the kind of reputation that is highly prized is a reputation for toughness and bravery," Ryan says. "For women in a typical honor culture, the most valued reputation is a reputation for loyalty and sexual purity." Two decades of research has shown that people in the Southern and Western regions of the United States tend to embrace honor cultures more than in the North.

To see how those values translate into children's names, Ryan and colleagues designed several studies to look at naming trends. The studies included surveying people about their beliefs and their likelihood of naming their children after men or women in the family and included a novel, indirect method to look at actual U.S. baby name trends. In all the studies, published today in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, they found that people who endorse honor ideology were most likely to use patronyms.

In the study of U.S. name trends, the researchers used Social Security Administration data to identify the 10 most popular boy and girl names in each state in 1960, 1984, and 2008. The idea was to look at 24-year cycles to see how frequently the same names popped up one and two generations later and then to compare it to regional trends of honor beliefs, controlling for a variety of other regional differences and demographics.

"Each state was given a patronym score and a matronym score by tallying how many of the 10 most popular names in one generation showed up again among the most popular names given to the next generation, or in the generation after that," Ryan says. "Higher scores show that baby names were being recycled from one generation to the next, and these scores showed a regional pattern to them similar to the patterns we see with other behaviors connected to honor ideology around the United States."

States in the South and West tended to have higher patronym scores than did states in the North. And those same states ranked higher in indicators of honor ideology such as execution rates, Army recruitment levels, and suicide rates among White men and women. They also found that after 9/11, the use of patronyms increased in culture-of-honor states. And similarly, people who were asked to think about a fictitious terrorist attack were more likely to say they'd use patronyms if they also strongly endorsed honor ideology.

"The same pattern was not observed, however, when it came to matronyms, which is exactly what we expected," Ryan says. "Matronyms, unlike patronyms, are not any more popular in the South and West compared to the North, and they do not predict any statewide variables to a significant degree."

Indeed, matronyms are very rare in Western culture. "Everyone probably knows a guy who is a 'junior,' given the exact same name as his father, and many know someone who is 'such-and-such the third,' having the same name as both his father and his grandfather," Ryan says. "But when was the last time you met a woman who had the same name as her mother, much less the same first and middle names as her mother, like Sally Anne Jones, Jr.?" Some famous female juniors include former First Lady Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, Jr., Carolina Herrara, Jr. (daughter of the clothing designer), and Rory (aka Lorelai) from the TV show Gilmore Girls.

In the new analysis, Elizabeth was the only female name that showed up frequently across generations as a possible matronym. "Perhaps one of the reasons for this name's greater intergenerational use is that there are so many nicknames based on the name Elizabeth: Liz, Lizzy, Beth, Eliza, Lisa, Betty, etc.," Ryan says. "So, a girl named Elizabeth could be given her mother's name and most people might not even realize it."

Ryan says that this naming trend is one of the most pronounced gender differences we still see in society. "Women who once could only strive to work as nurses, teachers, or librarians can now aspire to be astronauts, brain surgeons, or senators," he says. "But don't expect anyone to give a girl her mother's name."

"The greater use of patronyms in these cultures reflects and transmits the value of masculinity and the male name," Ryan says. "A person's name, after all, is what people call that person, but it also represents that person's reputation how he or she is known in a community and all of the respect, status, or infamy that goes along with that reputation."

Ryan hopes that the current work shows how cultural values and events shape important personal decisions, such as naming children. "Our baby naming practices can shed light on what we care about, in a subtle way, and they might also serve as a mechanism for transmitting our cultural values from one generation to the next."


'/>"/>

Contact: Lisa M.P. Munoz
spsp.publicaffairs@gmail.com
703-951-3195
Society for Personality and Social Psychology
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Texas Children’s Hospital Launches Music Therapy Program for Babies in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Inpatient Rehabilitation
2. Diet Doc Announces Medically Guided Diet Plans That Help Prospective Moms Lose Weight, Now Found to Help Prevent Babies From Becoming Fat Adults
3. More Babies are Oversized as Maternal Obesity Rate Rises, Lancet Report Says
4. Bradenton, FL Laser Gum Surgery Safely Treats Gum Disease in Pregnant Women and can Reduce the Risk of Pre-Term or Low-Birth Babies with Dr. Lindsay Eastman
5. Baskets For Babies First Annual Benefit Tournament - Aug 24th
6. Pregnant Women Who Use Nasal Decongestants During the First Trimester May Increase Their Babies’ Risks of Birth Defects; Parker Waichman LLP Is Evaluating Legal Claims
7. Comfort & Harmony™ Weighs in on Possible Lifelong Social Benefits of Breastfeeding, Makes Breastfeeding Easier with mombo™ Nursing Pillow Available at Babies “R” Us
8. Comfort & Harmony™ Weighs in on Research, Breastfed Babies Show Superior Cognitive Development, Breastfeeding Easier with mombo™ Nursing Pillow Available at Babies “R" Us
9. Proper Education About Caring for Babies’ Teeth is Essential According to Warren Melamed
10. Women who give birth to multiple babies after IVF are at higher risk of breast cancer
11. Ingenuity™ Applauds Moms and Dads, Recommends Washable Playard with Dream Centre™ Available at Babies “R” Us
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/5/2016)... , ... February 05, 2016 , ... Steven Tonkinson, 36, ... has completed every year since it started in 2003. This year, he ran all ... of fellow runners and NBA team the Miami Heat. , This Sunday, while many ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... VeloReality President ... next generation LYNX VR Indoor Trainer with multi-rider capability to an enthusiastic audience ... not only reduce the weight of the unit, they also enhance the rider's ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... NY (PRWEB) , ... February 05, 2016 , ... ... partners and setting the stage for new clinical and scientific initiatives have all ... year after she was appointed President and CEO of the nation’s oldest cancer ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... ... franchisees of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen restaurants, launched the 14th annual “Appetite for a ... and adults with muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases that severely limit strength ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... 05, 2016 , ... Looking for a last-minute Valentine’s Day gift for the ... toes. Foot massage, whether administered by a professional masseuse or a loved one, can ... Board of Multiple Specialties in Podiatry (ABMSP) has taken the upcoming Valentine’s Day ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/5/2016)... 2016 Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) will present ... Conference at 9:15 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, ... W. Meline , executive vice president and chief financial officer ... the presentation can be accessed from the Events Calendar on ... the webcast will also be available on Amgen,s website for ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... Colo. , Feb. 5, 2016  As people ... health. The multitude of recommended screenings and tests that ... aging a priority. However, for the majority of aging ... proactive health planning. For the 37.5 million American adults ... like the present to make hearing health a 2016 ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... Feb. 5, 2016 Aethlon Medical, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... and CEO, will be presenting at Source Capital Group,s 2016 ... NY at 2:15 p.m. ET on Wednesday, February ... Panel discussion taking place at 3:15 p.m. ET. ... one hour after the conclusion of the live event. The ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: