NCBI ROFL: Beauty week: Better choose that baby name wisely!

By ncbi rofl | August 5, 2010 7:00 pm

helloFirst names and perceptions of physical attractiveness.

“I examined the impact of first names on ratings of physical attractiveness as judged by British undergraduate subjects using male and female full-face pictures presented on photographic slides. The photographs were identified with attractive names, unattractive names, or without any name indicated. Subjects rated the stimulus figures for physical attractiveness. Names accounted for approximately 6% of the variance in subjects’ ratings of physical attractiveness. This effect was highly significant for pictures of women (p < .001), but nonsignificant for pictures of men (p > .05).”

Bonus quote from the materials and methods:
“The stimulus names were selected from a list of 160 names that had been rated for attractiveness by 10 male and 10 female subjects on a 7-point scale. Male and female names of approximately the same level of attractiveness were selected. One attractive and one unattractive name was used for each sex. The attractive female name was Danielle (M = 4.70) and the attractive male name was Alexander (M = 4.85). The unattractive female name was Tracey (M = 1.2) and the unattractive male name was Kenneth (M = 1. 15).”

first names

Characteristics attributed to individuals on the basis of their first names.

“Characteristics connoted by first names were explored in 7 studies. Four factors were identified: Ethical Caring, Popular Fun, Successful, and Masculine-Feminine (Study 1, N = 165). Men’s names connoted more masculine characteristics, less ethical caring, and more successful characteristics than did women’s names (Study 2, N = 274). Nicknames connoted less successful characteristics, more popular fun, and less ethical caring characteristics than did given names (Study 3, N = 289). Androgynous names connoted more popular fun and less masculine characteristics for men and more popular fun, less ethical caring, and more masculine characteristics for women than did gender-specific names (Study 4, N = 378). Less conventionally spelled names connoted uniformly less attractive characteristics (Study 5, N = 145). For men only, longer names connoted more ethical caring, less popular fun, more successful, and less masculine characteristics (Study 6, N = 620). More anxiety and neuroticism were attributed to those with less common names and more exuberance was attributed to those with more attractive names (Study 7, N = 137).”


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  • Rhacodactylus

    Dammit all! Enough with the sciency mumbo jumbo, what should I say my name is when I’m out at the bar?!?!

  • Rhacodactylus

    On a side note, I’ll definitely be consulting this study for tips on what to name my daughter. I’m thinking long unattractive names that indicate aversion to sexual activity.

  • CJS

    Were the results broken down for gender (that is, men rating men, men rating women, women rating men, and women rating women)? My conjecture is that most of the effect for names of women was from women rating women…

  • daniology

    And all this time I thought men were attracted to my intellect.

  • Kelsey

    actually the most unattractive male name is Keith


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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl


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