Ever heard the story of a couple who had a name picked out for their child, but, when the baby was born, decided to change it because "He doesn't look like a Robert"? Well, new studies show those parents' decision to change the names to fit their newborn's faces may have done their children a favor.
A new study says people whose name matches the shape of their face are liked more.
Angular vs. rounded: Which face shape matches your name?
The study is linked to something called the Bouba/Kiki effect. To sum it up quickly, people with angular faces are expected to have names with sharper sounds, like Kiki, whereas people with rounded faces are expected to have names with softer sounds, like Bouba. In the study, when the name matched the face shape, the person got more likes than when the name didn't match.
In general, people preferred angular to rounded faces, but they also adjusted their ratings based on the names. Rounded faces were liked more once they were revealed to have a rounded name. The effect was even stronger for angular faces: They were liked more if their name was revealed to be angular and less if their name was rounded.
A great example given to understand this is the actors Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, co-stars of the movie 21 Jump Street. Jonah has a round face and Channing has an angular one.
Want to be a politician? You may need a nickname.
The research also found well-named candidates got more votes than their less-aptly named opponents. Candidates with very well-fitting names received 10 percent more votes than those with very poorly fitting names, a margin that likely contributes to the victories of some sharp-faced Mikes or soft-faced Johns. So, if you're looking to change careers and run for office, you may want to get a nickname to ensure your face matches your name. At least that's easier (and cheaper!) than plastic surgery.