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Do You Look Like Your Name?

Years ago, New Scientist magazine did a study on "nominative determinism," which is when a person's name seems to dictate his or her profession (ie. someone with the last name of "Doctor" becomes a physician). They found out that professions actually DID seem to be determined by names. Now a group of psychologists say that we remember some people's names more easily than others because people with certain names all seem to LOOK a certain way. Can this be scientific?

Psychologist Robin Thomas thinks that certain names are associated with certain facial features, for example, when people hear the name "Bob," they have in mind a larger, rounder face than when they hear a name such as "Tim" or "Andy." When Thomas asked college students to predict someone's name by looking at his face, the most correct name-face matches were Bob, Bill, Brian and Jason.

Thomas says, "People choose names for their babies not knowing how they will look later in life, but it seems society has an idea of what people's names might be merely by looking at them." In other words, parents intuit what their infants will look like when they grow up, probably because they know they'll look like the people they're related to, and name them accordingly, even though this may be an unconscious act on their part.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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