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Psychology student wins Three Minute Thesis Students’ Choice Award

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Congratulations to David Barton, the winner of the 2013 Three Minute Thesis Students’ Choice Award.

 D Barton

David Barton, Master's Student
Department of Psychology

Does your name match your face? If it does people will like you more. This was the basis of David Barton’s recent presentation at the Three Minute Thesis final competition. The event was quite a major affair. The Castle 1 theatre can seat 325 people and on the day it was quite packed. There were also 3 cameras filming the event for a live stream of the occasion. “As you can imagine the experience was quite nerve-wracking for most of the 9 presenters, including me” he laughed.

“I was happy with the outcome. Receiving the students’ choice award was a clear indication that I managed to convey my message to the audience. They really seemed to engage in my presentation and their laughter really put me at ease. It also helped me to relax and enjoy giving my presentation. Of course I breathed a sigh of relief when it was all over."


People can really engage with David’s research. It pulls them in and makes them take stock of their own name and face match. “People constantly ask me if they have a good name for their face. The answer to their question is not always easy. First you must determine if your “face” is round or spikey. Then you need to determine if your “name” is round or spikey. For some names and faces this is not always clear cut, so as part of my future work I hope to articulate a more scientific approach to quantifying the roundness or spikiness of a name.”

David would also like to show how this effect may be impacting people in the real world. Can it be seen in election outcomes, employment interviews or academic success? For example, do election candidates who have names that match their faces well, get elected more than those who have a bad match? These are some of the areas he hopes to research more fully in the coming months, “so stay tuned because this story is far from over.”

“They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well the same can be said for winning an award at the Three Minute Thesis competition, or any award for that matter. A big thanks goes out to my supervisor Jamin Halberstadt who has supported and guided my research work so far. Jamin has been a huge help and has always been very accessible and approachable, I really enjoy working with him. A big thanks also goes out to my other lab members who have input valuable feedback into my research and thesis presentation. We are all a part of a great lab, and have achieved several accolades in the past few months. I look forward to working alongside them in the future.”