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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 August, 2004, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Right name 'improves sex appeal'
Kylie and Chris Moyles
Kylie Minogue and Chris Moyles both have sexy names ...
The difference between who is sexy and who is not may all be in their name.

The most important factor is the type of vowel sound within a person's name, research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggested.

Men with a "front vowel" sound made at the front of the mouth, such as "a" in Matt, were most attractive to women.

Those with a "back vowel" sound, such as "aw" in Paul or George, were less sexy, New Scientist magazine said. In women, the situation is reversed.

Hot or not?

Men were more attracted to those with back vowel sounds in their names, such as Jordan, Rachel, or Kylie.

Nicole Kidman
...But Nicole Kidman does not, according to US researchers

Women with front vowel sounds, such as Kate, Emma or Elizabeth were considered less attractive.

The study was carried out by linguist Amy Perfors, who posted photographs of men and women on the "Hot or Not?" website, which invites viewers to rate strangers' attractiveness.

Each photo was posted at different times, with different names, to see what difference this would make to their attractiveness ratings.

Sexy names?
Edgar
Christopher
Martin
Daniel
Claudia
Jade
Rita
Gloria
While most scientists believe there is no inherent relationship between the sound of a word and its meaning, Perfors believes there is some evidence to the contrary.

She says front vowel sounds are often perceived as "smaller" than back vowel sounds, so the difference could be that women were seeking "sensitive" or "gentle" men - traits often considered "feminine".

Unsexy names?
Norman
George
Peter
Tony
Hannah
Emily
Nicole
Cherie
Other studies have also shown men with slightly feminine characteristics to be attractive to women.

But men thinking of switching to more feminine names to approve their luck with the ladies should beware - men with women's names were ranked least attractive of all.

Having a man's name, such as Bob, had no negative effects on women's attractiveness ratings.




SEE ALSO:
Birds' 'sexy songs'
16 Feb 03  |  Denver 2003
Smell secrets of sexy mice
31 Jan 02  |  Health
The magic of sexual attraction
16 Dec 98  |  Health


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