With regarding to the question of how you are judged to be attractive to people, many often default straight away to personal appearance. However, research indicates we are also influenced by names.
One way to learn about this effect is through the way people respond to us - particularly when they don’t know us. For instance, on Facebook, a site arguably designed to augment existing friendships, people send friend requests to people they don’t know everyday. In deciding whether or not accepting these requests out of the blue, recipients consider several things.
One is how many mutual friends they have in common with the requestor - and who they are. Another is whether the sender has an attractive profile, including the photo. Yet another, however, that is more apparently important than many people have known about, is the person’s name.
Tobias Greitemeyer and Irene Kunz investigated on how physical attractiveness and people’s names could have impacted on acceptance of Facebook friend requests. They began taking on notice of how people treated others if that person had a positive name comparing with whom had physically attractive. In their study, they found that both attributes all made people more likely respond to Facebook friend requests.
How about if someone has a staggering profile photo, but an unattractive name? Greitemeyer and Kunz found that it would be lucky for someone if they were in that position because physical attractiveness could compensate for name-valence, and vice versa. They found that friendship acceptance rates were at similar rates from users having positive names and moderately attractive, and users having negative names and attractive. People who were most disadvantaged in their study, in terms of being accepted as a friend, were those with negative names and were not attractive.
When it comes to names, not every person on Facebook uses their accurate name. They sign up under their correct name because they have to comply with its terms and conditions. But Facebook lets you add professional titles, nicknames, or other names on your profiles later on. Simon M. Laham et al. (2012) contemplated the impact of names in a research called “The name-pronunciation effect: Why people like Mr. Smith more than Mr. Colquhoun.” They began by recognizing that names could suggest characteristics such as ethnicity and gender, and may also indicate personality, traits as varied as morality, cheerfulness, and warmth. The authors also noted that names did differ in a very practical fashion: some were easier to pronounce.
Over five studies offering evidence for what they defined as the name-pronunciation effect, they found that easy-pronounced names were judged more positively than their counterparts who had difficult names. Regarding to real-world implications, Laham found that people who had easier-to-pronounce surnames enjoyed higher status positions, particularly within law firms.
They also noted that their findings held true regardless the length of the names or whether the names are foreign, or unusual.
Gone further, Greitemeyer and Kunz wondered in their research whether being physically attractive and having a positive name increased Facebook friendship acceptance, which could only be unique to the online setting and would also exist in real life. That is still undergoing testing, however, there is one thing for sure: there is no substitute for tons of time before making any relationship decision by just relying on photos and names. Instead we should slow down, and take steps to learn more about that person behind that profile and the easy name pronunciation.