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http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience...5bl9oZWFkbGluZV9saXN0BHNsawNiYWJpZXNpbmZyb24-


Babies born in newer U.S. states have more distinctive names compared with their counterparts in older regions such as New England, a new study finds.

It turns out, the same values that pushed adventurous individuals into new territories as our country was being populated may still show up in the names their descendants give to babies, a new study finds.

In more recently established states, such as Washington and Oregon, parents tend to choose less common baby names, while parents in "older" areas, such as the original 13 states, go for more popular names.

Frontiers typically have fewer established institutions or infrastructure, and often occupy harsh environments. Early pioneers couldn't rely on others for help in such sparsely populated areas.

These factors "select for people who are high in individualism and foster and reward individualistic values such as uniqueness and self-reliance," said lead researcher Michael Varnum of the University of Michigan. "This leads to regional cultures which perpetuate these values, which in turn shape behavioral practices, such as baby naming." [Most Popular Baby Names in History]

Psychologist Jean Twenge of San Diego State University, who studies baby naming, applauds Varnum's study on frontiers and unique baby names, which is detailed in the February 2011 issue of the journal Psychological Science.

"It's a really fascinating illustration of the impact of regional culture on naming choices," said Twenge, author of "The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement" (Free Press, April 2009).

"Even though other people who came later may not have been so individualistic, that culture was set up," Twenge told LiveScience. "That legacy of the frontier is going to live on, and that shows up in baby names."

What names say about culture

The names we choose for our children do often reflect parents' values. "It's a very heartfelt choice and a noncommercial choice of what's important to us," said Laura Wattenberg, author of the book "The Baby Name Wizard" (Three Rivers Press, 2005) and creator of the website BabyNameWizard.com.

Wattenberg's recent research showed that the meaning conveyed by a baby's name (what it tells others about the parents' tastes and background) has surged over the last 25 years as baby names have become more diverse and numerous.

"I'm convinced they're absolutely right in the core data that there's no question that the American frontier is a naming wonderland," Wattenberg told LiveScience. "Sarah Palin, even though she talks about traditional values, she's a perfect representative of frontier naming." Her kids are named Track, Willow, Trig, Bristol and Piper.

Even so, it's not simple to draw a causal connection between the character of a particular state and the naming conventions there. "Leaping from that to the idea that it represents the spirit of independence, I think there are a lot of other factors you need to consider when drawing that conclusion," Wattenberg said.

Baby names moving west

In the new study, Varnum and his University of Michigan colleague Shinobu Kitayama compared the commonness of popular baby names between relatively recently settled regions of the United States and older areas. The team used 2007 baby-name data collected by the Social Security Administration.

In New England states, more babies were given the most popular boys' and girls' names than they were in frontier states – those in the Mountain West and Pacific Northwest.

Statistical analyses showed the longer ago a state had achieved statehood, the more likely it was to have a higher percentage of people with one of the top 10 most popular baby names. The results held even after the researchers accounted for other factors that might impact baby-name choices, including population density, ethnicity of a state and median income."

:laughing:

"I'm convinced they're absolutely right in the core data that there's no question that the American frontier is a naming wonderland," Wattenberg told LiveScience. "Sarah Palin, even though she talks about traditional values, she's a perfect representative of frontier naming." Her kids are named Track, Willow, Trig, Bristol and Piper"

Trigger, floatplane, train track, switchgrass, briar patch, rifle, tolketna, dances with wolves.......:laughing:
 
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