Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Hershberger, Wayne A., 1931-||Ditrichs, Raymond

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Names; personal--United States; Symbolism (Psychology)


A review of the literature on the psychological significance of personal names suggests that names in and of themselves have meaning, and that in general, uncommon male given names have a leas favorable connotative meaning than do common male names. The present study attempted to measure directly, for purposes of comparison the connotative meanings of common and uncommon male names using the semantic differential technique. Two groups of 40 undergraduate college students, 20 male and 20 females per group, rated 10 common and 10 uncommon name on a total of 46 seven-point semantic differential scales, each group using a different set of scales. For the common names, the judgements of both male and female subjects were significantly different from neutral on 27 out of the 46 scales. The common names were rated unfavorably on only one scale. The uncommon names were judged significantly different from neutral on 27 scales by both males and females. For the uncommon-names ratings, however, 17 out of the 46 were unfavorable for male judges, and 12 were unfavorable for female judges. Significant differences were found between common and uncommon names on were than one-half of the 46 scales. For male subjects, 32 scales out of 46 were significant, and for females 30 out of 46 were significant. The most important finding was that in nearly all cases the ratings favored the common names. The results of this study clearly demonstrated that given male names have measurable connotative meaning and that this meaning differs for common and uncommon names.


Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


56 pages




Northern Illinois University

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