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Matt is sexier than Paul?
Updated: 2004-08-13 08:54

As Shakespeare said, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Right?


Scientists say the right name can make you sexier.

Linguist Amy Perfors, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technoloy, posted photos of men and women on the U.S. Web site "Hot or Not," which lets viewers rate pictures according to how attractive they find them.

When she posted the same pictures with different names, she found that the attractiveness scores went up and down depending on the vowels, the London-based magazine New Scientist reported.

Men with "front vowels" in their names -- sounds formed at the front of the mouth like the "a" in Matt -- were considered sexier than men with "back vowel" sounds like the "au" in Paul, she concluded.

The opposite held for women, who were sexier with back vowels than front ones.

Perfors said front vowels are often perceived as "smaller" than back vowels, so the difference could be a sign that women are seeking men that are sensitive or gentle, traits usually perceived as feminine.

But men who might be thinking of taking more feminine names to become sexier should be careful not to go too far: men with women's names were rated least sexy of all.

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