Psychologists have found that using one or more middle initials in every day situations, such as signing off an email, boosts a person's social status in the eyes of others.
"People's middle initials have a particular and powerful effect on how people are perceived by others," psychologists Wijnand A.P. Van Tilburg and Eric R. Igou wrote in their study, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology.
"The display of middle initials increases the perceived social status of these people, and positively biases inferences about their intellectual capacity and performance." To prove their point, the pair conducted seven studies, one of which revealed that people were more eager to join a quiz team if its members included people with middle initials in their name.
Another experiment involved showing participants an article that was said to have been written by either David Clark, David F Clark or David F. P. R. Clark. The psychologists discovered that people considered David F.P.R. to be the best writer, despite the articles being identical.
Tilburg and Igou believe middle initials impress people because we are used to seeing initials presented in 'intellectual domains,' - such as medicine and law literature, because doctors, lawyers, scientists and other 'high status' professionals often display their middle initials.
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