Study says your name can de­ter­mine the way you look

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY ROSA DO­HERTY

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.