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

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

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