Muscularity and attractiveness as predictors of human egalitarianism
Michael E Price et al.; 2011
In ancestral human environments, muscularity and height (in males) and physical attractiveness (in both sexes) would theoretically have correlated positively with one’s social status, and thus with one’s ability to beneﬁt from social inequality. We therefore hypothesized that individuals who are more characterized by these traits would be less egalitarian (i.e., less likely to believe that resources should be distributed equally in social groups). We used a white-light 3D body scanner to extract anthropometric measurements from 118 participants, and our four egalitarianism measures included social dominance orientation and social value orientation. We found that as hypothesized, muscularity and waist–chest ratio in males, and self-perceived attractiveness in both sexes, tended to associate signiﬁcantly in the predicted directions with the four egalitarianism measures; most of these correlations were of medium size. Neither height, nor two anthropometrically-assessed attractiveness measures (volume height index and waist–hip ratio), associated signiﬁcantly with any egalitarianism measure in either sex. Egalitarianism has crucial social repercussions (e.g., taxes, welfare and civil rights), and results from the current study shed light on its origins.