Names and faces
According to an study at Miami University in Ohio, we tend to associate particular names with particular face types. If a name ‘matches’ a face, we tend to find it easier to remember, while face and names that are not perceived as ‘matching’ are more difficult to remember.
In the study, 150 college students were asked to construct faces for 15 common male names using facial construction software. A second group was asked to rate how well these constructed faces seemed to fit their names. This group thought that there was a good match between many of the names and faces, with the best matches for the names Bob, Bill, Brian and Jason. The name Bob, for example, was associated with round faces. Perhaps this has something to do with sounds of the name.
To test whether names that fit faces are easier to remember, a third group of students was shown the constructed faces with their names. Later they were asked which names they could recall, and it was found that the better the match between name and face, the better they could remember the names.
Another study is planned to try to discover why there are such associations between names and faces. One possible reason is apparently that parents may name their babies to fit their general features, including the shapes of their faces.