After three studies, bald men came out on top of men with hair. A new study has found that bald men are perceived as more dominant, stronger, and taller.
The Hair Loss Dilemma
Going bald is perhaps one of the great stressors among men. Because of this, people spend a whole lot of money and time just to keep the hair on their heads. In fact, to control their hair loss problems, some even take medications which turned out to be problematic when the drug was seen to be causing long-term erectile dysfunction.
A new study now shows that perhaps men shouldn't be breaking a sweat when it comes to going bald because apparently, people perceive bald men to have positive attributes that could benefit both their social and economic standings.
In order to see just how people perceived bald men, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania conducted three studies. In the first study, 59 students were presented with photographs of 25 men, 10 of whom had shaved heads. All the photographs had similar black backgrounds, and all the men had minimal facial hair. None of them were visibly balding. The participants then rated the men in the categories of dominance and agreeableness.
Results of the first study showed that the men with shaved heads were perceived as more dominant than the men with hair. However, there could still be other attributes that may have contributed to this perception. They still could've been ranked as more dominant regardless of whether they were bald or had hair.
In order to jump over this obstacle, researchers conducted study two which involved only four men. This time, they kept the men's faces constant and randomly presented the participants with photographs of the four men with hair and then without. Participants who figured out the purpose of the study were excluded from the study.
Interestingly, the men whose hairs were digitally removed and thus were bald in the photograph were still perceived as more dominant. Further, they were also perceived as more confident, more masculine, and an inch taller than they actually were.
In order to fully understand this perception of bald men, researchers conducted study three with multiple objectives. For instance, they wanted to see if men with thinning hair would also be perceived as more dominant and whether men with thinning hair could alter their interpersonal standing if they shave their heads. This was done using a fictional description of a man called John who was described as having either thinning hair or being bald.
After the tests, researchers found that the John with thinning hair was perceived as less favourably described in all aspects apart from norm violation, whereas the bald John was still rated highest in dominance, leadership, masculinity, norm violation, and strength.
Because of the results of the study, researchers believe that it could be possible for men with thinning hair to improve their interpersonal standing by shaving their heads. In fact, as people perceive bald men as dominant people with leadership potentials, it could also have positive implications for their jobs.
What's more, it could save men money if they just shave their heads instead of spending money on hair products and services.
"Instead of spending billions each year trying to reverse or cure their hair loss, the counterintuitive prescription of this research to men experiencing male pattern baldness is to shave their heads," researchers note.