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You either know a mess of juniors and boys with Roman numerals in their full name or hardly any at all, depending on where in the US you reside. According to a new study from the University of Oklahoma via Yahoo! News, parents from Southern and Western states tend to give boys a name (also known as a "patronym") that pays tribute to their dad or another male relative more often because of their "honor culture." This means that they deeply value reputation, which often goes hand-in-hand with being brave, strong and aggressive when it comes to protecting their families.
Researchers polled more than 500 undergrads, asking them questions to gauge their allegiance to honor culture, and then asked them to imagine having a baby in next five years and how likely you’d be to name it after a family member. The more a man bought into honor culture, the more likely he was to choose to name a child after himself or a family member (the same did not hold true for women). Interestingly, those who leaned toward patronyms were also more likely to hold traditional views like women shouldn’t work outside the home.
To check themselves, the researchers also took a look at Social Security Administration baby name data three generations apart to look for a higher repetition of names in Southern and Western states -- and bingo! The theory held.
Has this Southern/Western tradition reached across the pond? Dad-to-be Simon Cowell has said he’d like his son to be named Simon as well. However, “honor” isn’t exactly the word that comes to mind when we think of that guy.