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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?

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

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