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Strong, wealthy men more likely to be conservatives

Evolution may help shape political motivations, study suggests.

By Joy Jernigan - MSN Living Editor May 16, 2013 7:21PM

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a Republican. A new study suggests that physically strong men may be more politically conservative.Rich men with bulging biceps may be more likely to hold economically conservative views and buff but poorer men to hold economically liberal views, according to a new study.

Michael Bang Petersen of Aarhus University in Denmark and Daniel Sznycer of the University of California, Santa Barbara, wanted to determine whether political motivations had an evolutionary link to physical strength. After all, in the early days of our ancestors, decisions about the distribution of resources were decided not by Congress but through a show of strength.

For the study, the researchers collected data on bicep size, socioeconomic status and support for economic redistribution from hundreds of people in the United States, Argentina and Denmark.

Among wealthy men, greater upper-body strength was linked to increased opposition to redistribution of resources.

"Despite the fact that the United States, Denmark and Argentina have very different welfare systems, we still see that — at the psychological level — individuals reason about welfare redistribution in the same way," Petersen said in a press release. "In all three countries, physically strong males consistently pursue the self-interested position on redistribution."

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Less wealthy men of a similar strength were more likely to support policies in favor of redistribution, as were wealthy men who were not as physically endowed.

Poorer men with low upper-body strength were less likely to support redistribution of resources, even if such policies would directly benefit them.

The findings suggest that evolution may influence men’s political motivations. The researchers, however, found no link between physical strength and political motivations in women.

The study was published in the journal Psychological Science.

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However, Sznycer noted that in modern democratic societies, policy is decided by the legislative branch and elections, not by who has the biggest muscles.

“Today there’s no rational link between how strong you are and the extent to how you may defend your own interests,” he said. “Today, whether you are strong or weak, resources will be taken or given to you based on things like your tax bracket and so on.”

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Photo: Arnold Schwarzenegger/Splash News/Corbis

May 16, 2013 10:40PM
They are also more likely to be jerks and bullies.
May 16, 2013 10:38PM
May 16, 2013 10:36PM
okay - by far the dumbest study ever?  No part of this was scientific.  Plus was this REALLY the best use of the reseachers time?  I certainly hope the taxpayers didn't pay for this study!
May 16, 2013 10:36PM
 THAT took a study to figure out?!
May 16, 2013 10:35PM

liberals have no laws. if it were up to them, than 8 year olds should have the freedom to snort blow bang their 2nd grade teacher.




liberals do NOT comprehend les englais.

May 16, 2013 10:34PM

Your government research dollars at work.

Nope, no fat in the US Budget.

May 16, 2013 10:33PM
Bicep measurements don't necessarily mean "stregnth" or even indicate muscle mass. I've seen plenty of fat guys with flabby but big arms. Conversely, I've seen smaller guys who are muscular but would, because of a smaller body frame, naturally have smaller biceps by comparison. You can't put too much stock in brief blurb type articles like this until you actually read the specifics elsewhere. And saying that rich men are more likely to be economically conservative? Duh. Sounds like these "scientists" are merely out to reinforce stereotypes...
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