Physically Strong Men Lean Conservative, Says Study

Friday, 17 May 2013 12:42 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Are muscle-bound men more likely to have right-leaning political positions? Phrased differently, are physically weak men more likely to be liberal and support a welfare state?

The answer to both questions is a resounding yes according to a recent study.

The study was conducted by scientists from Denmark's Aarhus University and UC Santa Barbara, who collected data on the bicep size, socio-economic status and support for economic redistribution from hundreds of individuals in America, Argentina and Denmark.

The conclusion: Men with greater upper-body strength were less likely to support left-wing policies compared with their weaker counterparts, Britain's the Daily Mail reported.

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"In all three countries, physically strong males consistently pursued the self-interested position on redistribution," Professor Michael Petersen, one of the two psychological scientists who conducted the study, said. "However physically weak males were more reluctant to assert their self-interest – just as if disputes over national policies were a matter of direct physical confrontation between individuals."

Petersen contends that the disparity between physically strong and weak men when it comes to their political stances has existed for many years.

"While many people think of politics as a modern phenomenon, it has, in a sense, always been with our species," Peterson added. "Political views are designed by natural selection to function in the conditions recurrent over human evolutionary history."

The study stems from the hypothesis that our early ancestors' decisions concerning distribution of resources were based primarily if not exclusively on shows of physical strength as opposed to negotiations of individuals in courthouses and legislative offices as they are today, the researchers say.

With that in mind, the scholars hypothesized that upper-body strength — a proxy for the ability to physically defend or acquire resources — would predict men's opinions about economic redistribution, notes Science 2.0.

There was however no correlation between upper-body strength and redistribution among female participants in the study as to their political leanings.

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"Many previous studies have shown that people's political views cannot be predicted by standard economic models," Petersen added. "This is among the first studies to show that political views may be rational in another sense, in that they're designed by natural selection to function in the conditions recurrent over human evolutionary history."

The findings were published in the journal Psychological Science.

Related stories:

Conservatives Donate More Than Liberals

Are Conservatives Less Likely to Choose Generics?

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