(February 24, 2016) Muscular men perceived to be better leaders than physically weak ones
Forget intelligence or wisdom. A muscular physique might just be a more important attribute when it comes to judging a person’s leadership potential.
Take Arnold Schwarzenegger whose past popularity was a result of his physical prowess as a “Mr. Universe” bodybuilder. In the 2003’s historic recall election, the physically imposing Schwarzenegger easily defeated California Governor Gray Davis who is arguably weaker looking than “The Terminator.”
Coincidence? Maybe. But now there is also real evidence that physical strength matters.
Study participants in a series of experiments conducted by Cameron Anderson, a professor of management at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, and Aaron Lukaszewski, an assistant professor at Oklahoma State University, overwhelmingly equated physical strength with higher status and leadership qualities. The paper, “The role of physical formidability in human social status allocation,” is forthcoming in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
The experiments first measured the strength of various men using a handheld, hydraulic Dynamometer that measures chest and arm strength in kilograms or pounds. After being rated on strength, each man was photographed from the knees up in a white tank shirt to reveal his shoulder, chest, and arm muscles. This way, researchers were able to control for reactions to height and attire rather than strength.