Did you ever wonder why you were named something specifically and not something else? Or have people guessed your name correctly by looking at you rather than asking? It makes you think huh? Well, there's a new study out there that says we look like your names. Interesting right?! It put the idea behind that last minute change your mother makes when she holds you for the first time because she has to feel what your name is!
Colleagues from HEC Paris and the Interdisciplinary Center and Columbia University, Yonat began a whole series of studies to see whether it’s possible to predict someone’s name simply by looking at clues in their face. They assembled thousands of head shots, then suggested four possible names for each one, including the person’s real name, and asked volunteers to guess which one was correct. The results, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, were astonishing.
Instead of the statistical likelihood of correct guesses (25 percent), the percentage of correct guesses was significantly higher at around 30 percent or more. (That may not sound like a lot, but in research terms, it’s a huge jump.) “What we found is that people repeatedly identified the true name of the person in the picture significantly above chance level,” Zwebner says.
The scientists were careful to eliminate any other clues that might influence the guesswork, such as clothing, but the results remained the same. It seems that humans are able to recognize certain characteristics of a face, which help them identify their name.
Over time, we seem able to “learn” facial characteristics that match individual names, a kind of face-name matching. However, this only works when we’re looking at names within our own culture, and doesn’t include middle names.
If humans can learn this skill, then perhaps computers could learn it too? The team took their research further. Using only two names, they showed multiple images to the computer, which then mapped the facial characteristics of each name.
It will be interesting to see how science and this study work together in the future especially when it comes to developing newer technologies! It's just a fascinating thought!