Study says your name can determine the way you look
THE HEBREW University of Jerusalem has carried out a study suggesting that a person’s name influences how they look.
Researchers from the university showed participants in the study photographs of random people, and asked them to guess their names from a list of options.
The participants repeatedly identified the correct names based on facial appearance alone.
In one typical case, 75 per cent of participants correctly selected “Dan” as the name of the one of the people in the photographs.
Dr Ruth Mayo, the senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology who ran the study with PhD student Yonat Zwebner, said: “Our research demonstrates that indeed people do look like their name.
“Furthermore, we suggest this happens because of a process of self-fulfilling prophecy, as we become what other people expect us to become.
“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.”
Jewish parents contacted by the JC agreed there appeared to be some truth to the findings.
Lisa Kemsley, of Palmers Green, north London, said she chose the name Skye for her daughter as something “different” and “unusual”.
Mrs Kemsley believed the eight-yearold did indeed look like a “Skye”, with her “bluey-green eyes”.
She said: “Skye is very girly and pretty. I guess maybe dressing her in pink for the first three years of her life influenced that in some way.” “Her personality is very laid-back. But she also is very confident and can be quite a performer when she is at her dance classes.” However Mrs Kemsley said the theory did not hold true with her son, 10-year-old Noah. “There are four boys called Noah in his year at school and they look nothing like each other. He is the best-looking one. His personality is quite serious and academic and the others were very different.”
History buff Sarah Stanton named her son Kovner, aged eight, after Abba Kovner, a Jewish freedom fighter who brought together the divided factions of the Vilna ghetto to fight against the Nazis.
The mother, from Muswell Hill, north London, said: “My husband and I are big into history and when I read about Kovner I knew that was the name it had to be.”
She said her son “wears his name well” and while he is not, “quite a freedom fighter leading a resistance, he is a strong character.”
Mrs Stanton added: “Interestingly, he has ended up in a class with kids with quite unusual names. He understands his name has meaning and I guess that has shaped him in some way.
“Our daughter is called Zoe which means life and she is actually full of life so I agree with the research.”
Raymond Simonson, the CEO of the JW3 community centre, named his son Mossy, nine, after his late father.
He said: “Because it is an unusual name I don’t think people have the frame of reference to say he looks like a ‘Mossy’. His sister always says ‘he doesn’t look like moss’.
“But I think he suits his name. He has a cheeky smile and a mop of curly hair and I think his name sounds fun and cheerful and messy like him.”
Mossy Simonson: “his name sounds fun,” like him, says his father