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When I search for a person, there is a title next to their name. How is that title chosen?

When you perform a search on a non-unique name (i.e. a name with multiple results on the database), the list of matching names usually looks like this:

Results for "Jennifer Lawrence"

Bellow the name, you can see a role and title (e.g. Actress, The Hunger Games).

The role & title is meant to be the most representative or, as we call it, the "Best Known For" for that person and the idea is that should there be multiple instances of people sharing the same name, this information helps identify the correct person they're looking for at a glance.

In most cases, the "Best Known For" title is automatically chosen among their credits through a complex weighting system. Every credit in an individual's filmography is assigned a "weight" based on a series of factors. 

These may include:

  • The job performed on the title (a credit as director will have more weight than a credit as production assistant).

  • The frequency of credits for a particular job in the context of the person's filmography (writing credits may have more weight for someone who is more frequently credited as a writer than as a producer)

  • The type of title (a credit for a theatrical feature has a different weight than a credit for a short film or a TV series)

  • The popularity of the title (this takes into consideration the number of hits/page views, the average user rating, any awards won by the title and several other indicators)

  • The relative importance of the credit among similar ones for the same title (for example an acting credit for someone who received top billing will weigh more than an acting credit for a cameo appearance; a single writing credit on a film will weigh more than a credit shared with several other writers, etc.)

Please note that these aren't the only factors we consider, but should be enough to give an idea of the approach used to calculate the most representative titles in someone’s filmography. The top four titles with the highest score are listed in the 'Known For' category.

Since this is an entirely mathematical approach, some of our Known For choices may occasionally not be the best or most representative ones. If you are an IMDbPro member, you can make updates as outlined here. However, we aren’t able to support changes beyond this on a case-by-case basis.

However the algorithm used to select them is constantly being improved. Also, those choices are recalculated on a periodical basis, so the addition of new credits on someone's filmography will have an impact on their 'Known for' titles.

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