Ever wonder why your friend Bob really looks like a Bob? Or you friend Miranda totally looks like a Miranda?

Researchers say there’s a scientific reason behind it… the shape’s of people’s faces.

A paper published in Psychonomic Bulletin and Review says the bouba/kiki effect plays a big part in how we perceive individuals. The effect was first observed in 1929 by German psychologist Wolfgang Kohler. Kohler conducted an experiment with locals on the Tenerife island in Spain where he had them identify a round shape and an angular shape.

He found that the sounds of letters “b” and “i” are associated with softness and the sounds of “t” and k” indicate a spikiness. Over the years this phenomenon has been observed in many different languages. Researchers have found that this effect is true even when the object is a person’s face.

In the recent study, the research concluded that round sounding names are typically associated with round faces and angular sounding names are associated with angular faces.


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