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Posted: Friday, 24 May 2013 6:15AM

Study: Bicep size can indicate your political leanings

A new study in the Journal of Psychological Science seems to suggest that strong men are more likely to be politically conservative. 

The researchers collected data on bicep size and socioeconomic status, and found that wealthy men with high upper-body strength were less likely to support the redistribution of wealth. 

And they believe the results indicate that evolution may help to illuminate political motivations.  But Dr. Mimi Schippers, one of Tulane's gender experts, who is an associate professor of sociology and gender and sexuality studies, thinks there may be other reasons for the findings.  "I'm not convinced that it's evolution, or biological.  I think there are possible social explanations for their findings," she explains.  

More on this study from the Association for Psychological Science.

Weak men have a different experience she says, as "People may respond to him differently.  He may have a different sense of his own physical power and therefore be more interested in dealing with people in a more communal way or cooperative way."

The study authors say, "In the days of our early ancestors, decisions about the distribution of resources weren't made in courthouses or legislative offices, but through shows of strength." With that in mind, the researchers hypothesized that "Upper-body strength - a proxy for the ability to physically defend or acquire resources - would predict men's opinions about the redistribution of wealth."

But the study found no correlation in women between strength and their ideology. "When people respond interpersonally with women they're not assessing women's physical stature as a measure of power," Schippers says.

Photo by Gage Skidmore via Creative Commons with Attribution

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