Does your name make you rounder than you think?
Published: Saturday, May 19th, 2007
The things they research these days. Researchers at Miami University think they know why you can remember some people’s names but not others. They think they have shown “quantitatively” (that means by lots of research) that certain names are associated with certain facial features. One example they give is that when people hear the name, “Bob,” they have in mind a larger, rounder face than when they hear a name such as “Tim” or “Andy,” They add that if people try to learn face-name pairs that go against their expectations, they will have a hard time learning those face-name pairs. They even say that learning that the name of a person you’re going to meet is “Bob,” you actually see his face, when you meet him, as being rounder than it actually is. That worries the researchers. They fear we will never be able to see what’s actually there, but will always be influenced by what we expect to be there. Frankly, I don’t understand their concern. And I don’t understand why they use diminutives instead of proper names. After all, “Bob” is actually named “Robert.” Does “Robert” sound rounder than “Tim” or “Andy” or “Timothy” or “Andrew”? And how many people do you have to interview to find out? It’s true that forgetting the name of a face that you recognize is a common and embarrassing problem. That’s when, you use a lot of “yous.” The research says that the name “Bob” accounts for the “rounder” meaning. Go on, say “Bob” in front of a mirror and see how your cheeks puff out. Say “Andy” in front of the mirror, however, and see how your jaw drops and your face lengthens. What will happen to our future expectations as name favorite names change. In New Mexico, the name Alyssa is the most popular name used for baby girls in 2002, according to the state's Bureau of Vital Statistics. The name Alyssa was used 134 times, followed by Alexis (133), Ashley (113), and Brianna (88). Emily and Samantha (both at 85) complete the list of the top six most popular names for baby girls. These six names account for 4.1 percent of all girls’ names and the top 10 account for 7.1 per cent Only two of the 10 most popular girls’ names in 2002, Ashley and Samantha, also were among the ten most popular girls’ names in 1990. Among the boys, the research says that the name “Bob” accounts for the “rounder” meaning. Go on, say “Bob” in front of a mirror and see how your cheeks puff out. Among the boys, Joshua heads the list of the most popular names given to boys born in 2002, according to the state's records. The top 10 most popular boys’ names account for 11.3 percent of all boys’ names. Joshua, the top name in 2002, first appeared on the top 20 list in 1980 in 8th place and rose to 3rd in 1990. In 2002, 183 resident baby boys were named Joshua, with Jacob in 2nd position with 178. Isaiah with 171, Matthew with 169, and Michael with 151 round out the top five. Six of the ten most popular boys’ names in 2002 also were among the 10 most popular boys’ names in 1990. The names are Joshua, Christopher, Matthew, Michael, David and Joseph. Boys’ names from the 2002 top 20 list that have the largest increases, compared to 1990, are Jacob and Joseph. Daniel and Christopher show the largest decreases from 1990 to 2002. Compared to 1990, newcomers to the 2002 list are Isaiah, Gabriel, Jose, Elijah, Isaac, Ethan, Tyler and Jesus. Names that drop out of the top 20 in 2002 are Justin, James, Robert, John, Kyle, William, Nicholas, and Aaron. So for all you who named a child with an “R” word, maybe it'll be best to stick to the formal title: Robert. Chelle Delaney is associate publisher of the Quay County Sun. She can be reached by calling 461-1952 or by emailing: email@example.com
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