Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have conducted a study on whether a person's appearance is influenced by their given name. To examine this, a group of independent observers were given headshot photographs of strangers and asked them to choose the stranger's real name based on his or her facial appearance. A significant part of them beat the odds and correctly identified the person's name among the given list of names.
According to LiveScience, a similar experiment was repeated with the 115 participants in France, these men and women matched the correct name and face 40 percent of the time.
"Our research demonstrates that indeed people do look like their name," said Dr. Ruth Mayo, senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology.
"Furthermore, we suggest this happens because of a process of self-fulfilling prophecy, as we become what other people expect us to become," he added in a press release on the university's website.
On the other hand, observers were not good at matching faces to names in a foreign culture.
"This supports the idea that name stereotypes are important when matching faces with names," the study reported.
"A name is an external social factor, different from other social factors such as gender or ethnicity, therefore representing an ultimate social tag. The demonstration of our name being manifested in our facial appearance illustrates the great power that a social factor can have on our identity, potentially influencing even the way we look," Dr. Mayo continued.
The study is published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
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