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What’s in a Name?

Have you ever noticed that you can easily remember some peoples names, while other you repeatedly struggle to recall?

Man's Face

Photo: abolotnov (flickr)

It's a fact that it's easier to remember someones name if their name goes with their face. With certain names, there is a way people think they look.

Have you ever noticed that you can easily remember some peoples names, while other you repeatedly struggle to recall?

Don’t feel bad. It might be because their face doesn’t go with their name.

Psychologists at Miami University of Ohio conducted experiments showing a correlation between specific facial features and names. In one experiment, the researchers randomly presented participants with a name like Bob, Joe, or Dan, and then asked them to use computer software to draw a picture of someone likely to have this name.

The pictures had some striking similarities that depended on the name. For instance, the name “Bob” led most people to draw someone with a rounder face, while the name “Tim” triggered sketches with longer, thinner features. The study only used common men’s names, however, so it is too early to tell how these findings might apply to women’s names, or unusual ones.

In another experiment, the participants were shown a series of photos labeled with a name. They were able to learn and retain a name much more quickly when it fit their expectations of what a “Bob” or a “Tim” should look like.

It may be easier to remember someone’s name if it’s a good match to their face

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7N3LHPU63OJ7K2L7NTVK6S4TTA EllieB

    Maybe this is not necessarily a big deal, but surely the participant's perception of the body the name fits is due to the letters in the name. Bob contains more rounded letters and Tim contains longer thinner letters. Could this be the reason behind why we make these assumptions about people's appearances based on their names, maybe this is why the researchers had chosen these two names for their distinctiveness in the letters themselves.

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