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Bald Men Are Perceived As More Attractive, Study Finds

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Bald Men Are Perceived As More Attractive, Study Finds

If you are a man who has recently looked in the mirror and noticed some tell tail signs of hair-loss you will be pleased to find that there is a simple solution to your problem; a shaved head.

According to a new study conducted by Albert E. Mannes at the University of Pennsylvania men with shaved heads are seen as 13% stronger, taller and having greater leadership potential than men who have either a full head or hair that is thinning.

Mannes conducted three experiments and found that “Men with shaved heads were rated as more dominant”. He also concluded that “Men whose hair was digitally removed were perceived as more dominant, taller, and stronger than their authentic selves.” Furthermore, he noted that “Men experiencing natural hair loss may improve their  interpersonal standing by shaving”.

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According to the American Hair Loss Association, two thirds of men will lose some hair by the age of 35 and by the age of 50, 85% will have experienced a significant hair loss. So it is likely that Mannes findings will be welcomed by many men.

Mannes conducted three studies as part of his research.

Study 1. Are men with shaved heads perceived as more dominant and authoritative?

In the first of these studies, 59 participants were shown 25 photos. Of these 24 photos 10 men had shaved heads. The remaining men had various hair styles of different lengths. The participants were asked to rate each photograph based on their perceived power, influence and authority of men with hair and men with shaved heads. The results found that men with shaved heads were seen as more dominant thatn similar men with full heads of hair.

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Study 2. Do men with digitally removed hair look more dominant, taller and stronger than their authentic selves?

In the second study 344 participants were shown photographs of four different men. The first photograph was of the man with his real hair and the second photograph was of the man where his hair has been digitally removed. The participants perceived the men with shaved heads as more dominant, an inch taller and  13% stronger.

The results from the first experiment may be explained by saying that men who chose to shave their heads were more dominant. However, the results of the second experiment can not be justified in this way as it was the same man who was shown with and without hair.

Study 3. Do non-photographic stimuli provide the same results?

In the final study participants were given written descriptions of men. No photographs were used. More than 500 adults rated their perception of a given man based purely on the information they gathered from the written descriptions. The descriptions were all the same except for the parts that described the hair. The man that was described as having a shaved head was rated highest in masculinity, dominance,  leadership potential and strength.

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Explanations for the effect

Mannes argues that the link between shaved heads and dominance comes from cultural associations (just as being tall and having a deep voice signal dominance).

As he states: “In US society … shaved heads are often found on men in traditionally masculine professions,” he writes, “so dominance may emerge through stereotypical associations with these figures.”

Mannes believes that men who take the initiative to voluntarily shave their heads give the impression of being bold and dominant. Instead of being self conscious about their condition these men take an active step to improve their image.

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The study also showed that men with thinning hairlines were considered to be less masculine then those who shaved their hair off. In this way men with shaved heads were seen as more honest than men who tried to hide their condition with toupees or comb overs.

“Instead of spending billions each year trying to reverse or cure their hair loss,” Mannes writes, “the counterintuitive prescription of this research to men experiencing male pattern baldness is to shave their heads.”

So there is new hope for men out their who are experiencing hair loss. The answer is simple; shave it off and you will improve your image in no time. For those of you who have already taken the bold move and have shaved their heads you will be pleased to know that your are sporting a more dominant and masculine image.

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Rebecca Beris

Rebecca is a wellness and lifestyle writer at Lifehack.

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