60-Second Mind

Men Who Hold a Gun Appear Taller and Stronger

Research finds that men are perceived to be strong and large if they are carrying a deadly weapon. Christie Nicholson reports

Hey guys, want to look taller? Just pick up a handgun. Because a study finds that men are more often perceived to be big and strong when they hold a gun. The report is in the journal Public Library of Science ONE.

More than 600 subjects looked at photographs of the right hands of four different white males, each holding a different object: A power drill, a handsaw, a caulking gun and a .45 caliber handgun.

They then viewed silhouetted images of six men who varied in height and musculature and were asked to choose which man most closely matched each hand in the photos.

The participants consistently matched the gun toting hand with the taller and stronger male images. The hand holding the caulking gun was matched most often with the smallest and weakest male images.

In a second study the hands held a paintbrush, squirt gun and a kitchen knife. And again male hands holding the most dangerous object, the knife, were judged to go with the largest and strongest physiques. Seems like strength and power is in the eye of the beholder. Who is strongly swayed by weapons.

—Christie Nicholson

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

Rights & Permissions
Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

Email this Article