March 25, 2008 / 4:21 PM / 10 years ago

James and Elizabeth voted UK names for success

EDINBURGH (Reuters Life!) - What’s in a name? William Shakespeare asked in his love tragedy Romeo and Juliet.

French actor Damien Sargue (L) and actress Joy Esther perform "Romeo & Juliet" during a rehearsal at the National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei April 4, 2007. REUTERS/Richard Chung

Success, luck and attractiveness, a survey by an English psychology professor suggests more than 400 years later.

Richard Wiseman, psychology professor at the University of Hertfordshire, said on Tuesday an online survey of 6,686 people in Britain voted James and then Richard as the names most likely to bring success -- along with Elizabeth and Caroline for girls.

Jack and Chris respectively were the luckiest names for males and Lucy and Katie for females, while Ryan followed by James got the vote for attractiveness for men and Sophie and Rachel for women.

Asked about the validity of the survey, released at the week-long Edinburgh Science Festival on Tuesday, Wiseman told Reuters: “I think it’s pretty valid. It’s over 6,000 people and the effects are very strong, the difference between the top names and the bottom names are very, very striking, so I think there’s something going on.”

The least successful names for men were Ryan and Brian and for women Lucy and Lisa.

The unluckiest names for males were Thomas and John and for females Elisabeth followed by Helen.

At the bottom of the attractiveness survey came Thomas and George for men and Jane and Ann for women.

Wiseman, author of “Quirkology: The Curious Science of Everyday Life” said the survey followed a similar look at surnames, where people with surnames starting with letters at the beginning of the alphabet were thought more likely to do better than those with letters at the end.

What about his own name? He said he was pleased that Richard rated high among given names, while with the surname Wiseman “I think I was destined to be an academic.”

Editing by Steve Addison and Paul Casciato

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