Using a middle initial really does make you seem smarter to others.
Researchers Wijnand A. P. Van Tilburg (University of Southampton) and Eric R. Igou (University of Limerick) conducted a series of studies on the “middle initial effect.” Their results were published in the European Journal of Social Psychology in April. Here’s part of the abstract:
Middle name initials often appear in formal contexts, especially when people refer to intellectual achievements. On the basis of this common link, the display of middle initials increases positive evaluations of people’s intellectual capacities and achievements.
So there you have it. If you want people to think even more highly of your “intellectual capacities and achievements” than they already do, just throw in your middle initial(s).
P.S. Wijnand is a Dutch name pronounced “VIE-nahnt.” It’s made up of two elements, the first meaning “war,” the second meaning “brave.”