A recent study shows that when people read something by a (made-up, not famous) writer who has a middle initial or two or three of them, they rate the author as being more intellectual than when it is represented as having been written by the same name minus the middle initials.
Here is part of the study's 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.
We document this effect in seven studies: Middle initials in authors' names increased the evaluation of their writing performance (Study 1), and middle initials increased perceptions of status (Studies 2 and 4).
Moreover, the middle initials effect was specific to intellectual performance (Studies 3 and 6), and it was mediated by perceived status (Studies 5–7). Besides supporting our hypotheses, the results of these studies yield important implication for everyday life. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Authors with two middle initials are rated even more highly, and those with three middle initials even more.
If you are writing a work of fiction and want your reader to assume that a character is intelligent, give him or her a middle initial or two or three.
If you are writing a work of non-fiction it might be worth using your middle initial(s) if you have any, or inventing some if you don't.
That's my advice - yours truly, Jurgen S. O. B. Wolff--wait, I think we might have to be careful which middle initials we choose...How about J. K. Wolff? Actually, I'm thinking of using a pen name on a children's book I'm writing, but I'm inclined to change my last name to one that starts with a letter in the middle of the alphabet. When your last name begins with W, your books tend to end up on the harder-to-see bottom shelf.