Does your name match your face?

June 08, 2017

People tend to associate round names such as "Bob" and "Lou" with round-faced individuals, and they have an inherent preference for names and faces that go well together. This is according to David Barton and Jamin Halberstadt of the University of Otago in New Zealand. In the journal Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, published by Springer, they investigated the so-called "bouba/kiki effect." It refers to people's tendency to associate rounded objects with names that require rounding of the mouth to pronounce.

In a series of studies Barton and Halberstadt tested whether people's names are judged more suitable when they are congruent in shape with the people they denote. They also investigated whether people whose names match their faces will be judged more positively than people with incongruent names.

In the first experiment, participants ranked which of six suggested names went best with twenty overly exaggerated round or angular male caricatured faces. The participants consistently matched nine of the ten round faces, and eight of the ten angular faces with so-called round (George, Lou) and angular (Pete, Kirk) names, respectively. In a second experiment, using unmanipulated photographs of real male faces, participants assigned shape-congruent names to 14 out of 16 round faces, and 15 out of 16 angular faces. Further studies revealed that participants like another person more when they learn that the person has a name that matches their face, and participants' estimations of others, in fact, diminishes if this is not the case.

To put these findings into practice, Barton and Halberstadt turned to politics. The researchers computed "matching scores" for 158 candidates for the United States Senate, based on independent ratings of the roundness of each candidate's face and name. They found that well-named candidates (those whose faces matched their names) had an advantage. Candidates earned on average 10 more percentage points in their elections when their names fit their faces very well, versus very poorly.

"Those with congruent names earned a greater proportion of votes than those with incongruent names," explains Barton. "The fact that candidates with extremely well-fitting names won their seats by a larger margin - 10 points- than is obtained in most American presidential races suggests the provocative idea that the relation between perceptual and bodily experience could be a potent source of bias in some circumstances."

"Overall, our results tell a consistent story," Halberstadt explains. "People's names, like shape names, are not entirely arbitrary labels. Face shapes produce expectations about the names that should denote them, and violations of those expectations carry affective implications, which in turn feed into more complex social judgments, including voting decisions."
-end-
Reference: Barton, D.N. & Halberstadt, J. (2017). A social Bouba/Kiki effect: A bias for people whose names match their faces, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review DOI: 10.3758/s13423-017-1304-x

Springer

Related Candidates Articles from Brightsurf:

Gold nanoparticles turn the spotlight on drug candidates in cells
A team including researchers from Osaka University has developed a surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) microscopy technique for tracking small molecules in live cells.

Researcher found female candidates are more likely to discuss the economy than males
In a new study published in Politics & Policy, Deserai Crow, PhD, associate professor at the University of Colorado Denver in the School of Public Affairs, found significant differences in discussion topics between both party affiliation and gender.

Candidates who lie more likely to win elections - new study
A new economics experiment suggests the electoral system attracts candidates who are dishonest and highlights why greater transparency might foster more trust in politics.

Scientists identify promising new ALS drug candidates
Scientists have taken a significant step forward in the search to find effective new drug candidates for the treatment of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neurone disease.

When it comes to supporting candidates, ideology trumps race and gender
Voters who express prejudice against minorities and women are still more likely to support candidates who most closely align with their ideologies, regardless of the race or sex of such candidates, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

Scientists identify hundreds of drug candidates to treat COVID-19
Scientists at the University of California, Riverside, have used machine learning to identify hundreds of new potential drugs that could help treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2.

Candidates who use humor on Twitter may find the joke is on them
Political candidates' use of humor on social media could sometimes backfire on them with potential supporters, new research suggests.

Essential oil components can be tested as drug candidates
A research team at the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology and the KU Leuven Department of Biology showed that, contrary to generally held belief, most components of essential oils could meet the criteria set for drug candidates.

Social media content matters for job candidates, researchers find
According to researchers at Penn State, job recruiters are less likely to select candidates who appear to be too self-involved or opinionated in their social media posts.

University of Miami team investigates why candidates for cochlear implants rarely get them
University of Miami researchers published a study in JAMA Oncology-Head and Neck Surgery that examines why adult candidates for cochlear implants rarely get them.

Read More: Candidates News and Candidates Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.