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London - Bald men are perceived to be more dominant, more athletic and better leaders, researchers have suggested.
A new study from information management lecturer Albert Mannes, of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, suggests that while men with male-pattern baldness tend to view themselves as having poor self-esteem, those who take the pre-emptive step of shaving a thinning head of hair improved their image.
“The broad takeaway is that perceptions about leadership and related traits like dominance can emerge from peculiar characteristics that aren’t really related to leadership at all,” says Mannes.
For the paper, “Shorn Scalps and Perceptions of Male Dominance”, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, Mannes describes three experiments.
The first found men with shaved heads were viewed as more masculine and dominant than other men.
Two more experiments found men were perceived as taller (by a couple of centimetres, on average) and stronger (that is, seen as being able to bench press 13 percent more) than those men with a full head of hair.
They were also viewed as having greater potential as leaders.
Mannes said the impetus for his research came from his own experience in his early thirties, when he began losing his hair.
“After fighting it for a while, one day I just decided to shave it off,” he said.
In the first experiment, subjects were asked to look at a series of photographs of men of similar age and dress, including some with shaved heads.
Then, they were asked to rate the men in terms of how powerful, influential and authoritative they looked. When the numbers were tallied, the shaved heads won.
In a second experiment, Mannes tried to control for other physical features that could convey dominance by showing his subjects the images of four men, but in two different versions: one with their hair, and one with their hair digitally removed.
Again, the images of men without hair were perceived as more dominant – and, much to Mannes’ surprise, also taller and stronger.
For his third experiment, Mannes avoided all visual cues and offered subjects physical descriptions of men, including whether they had hair, thinning hair or a shaved head.
Again, the shaved men came out on top. However, there was a downside.
Men with shaved heads were rated lower in attractiveness and also seen as being older.
But they nonetheless scored higher than men with thinning hair, who were ranked lower in almost all categories. – Daily Mail