Baldness is power, says study

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If you are a man and climbing the corporate ladder is high priority, going bald might be your key to success.

Men with shaved heads are looked upon as more masculine, dominant, and even possessing greater leadership potential than those with longer hair or a thinning crown, according to a recent paper by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

For the study, some 344 subjects were shown two different photos of the same men: one with hair, and the other with hair digitally removed and thus bald.

The subjects found the men with “bald” heads to be more dominant than their hairy counterparts. The “bald” men were also perceived to be an inch taller and 13% stronger.

However, on a brighter note for men with healthy heads of hair, the study also found that men with thinning hair were viewed as less attractive and powerful.

Just as older silverback gorillas are "typically the powerful actors in their social groups" in the wild, so it goes in the office, where a bald head may "signal who is in charge and potentially dangerous," Caroline Keating, a Colgate University social psychologist who studies dominance, told The Wall Street Journal.

A bare scalp is “nature’s way of telling the rest of the world that you are a survivor”, University of Louisville professor, Michael Cunningham, who has studied social perceptions of baldness, added. “It conveys aggressiveness, competitiveness and shows “willingness to stand against social norms,” he said.

The man who conducted the experiment, Wharton management lecturer Dr. Albert Mannes, said he was inspired to conduct the research after noticing that people treated him differently when he shaved off his own thinning hair.

 

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