Thursday, August 19, 2004


The above line had been uttered by someone in some movie or in FRIENDS...I don't remember the exact context. But whoever it was, he or she must have been prescient about future research.
This article says that what your name is can make a difference in how the opposite sex perceives you. Its actually not just your name, but a combination of your name and looks, and also the way you p-r-o-n-o-u-n-c-e your name. For example, if you are a woman, the next time you meet a good looking man, it may be to your advantage to say that your name is 'Holly', especially if your real name is 'Paula'.
Amy Perfors, a graduate student at MIT (where else) did a study in which she showed photos of men and women (actually friends of hers) to prospective daters, each time switching the names randomly. She found that her audience warmed more to members of the opposite sex with particular names. However, she says that the effect is 'statistically significant' but not very large, so that 'if you're Brad Pitt, you'd be more attractive than Joe Schmoe regardless of what your name is; but if Jud and Jim Schmoe are otherwise equally attractive, then Jim, who has the 'better' name, might be statistically more likely to be rated attractive than Jud.' She also says that her own name, Amy is not particularly attractive , but that she does not want to change it because 'she likes it.' The effect of the names has to do with what part of the mouth the vowels and consonants are pronounced in. Perfors says the effect does not work for 'dipthongs', vowels which can be pronounced in multiple ways. Of course, socially provocative gossip like this would be gathered up by many newspapers and journals, and this is exactly what happened. However, as was also expected, few sources reported that the results won't override any and all factors if you want to go on a date and are banking on obviating all influences of your clumsiness simply by saying "My name is X, Y X", where X and Y are last and first names respectively.
By the way, MY name IS Matt, I assure you...

P.S.: Perfors's explanation is at


Blogger Sumedha said...

interesting man..and shakespeare said ' a rose by any other name..'

10:46 AM  

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