Bald men appear more dominant, study says

Sean Rossman
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Dear gentlemen, sharpen up your razors and lather up that dome, it may be time to shed your locks for a more dominant look — bald.

A University of Pennsylvania study found men with shaved heads were rated as more dominant, a revelation, the study said, that could cause guys with male-pattern baldness to stop spending money on Rogaine and other treatments and embrace the Bic.

The study opens with an apt quote from comedian Larry David — a staunch bald advocate: "Anyone can be confident with a full head of hair. But a confident bald man — there's your diamond in the rough."

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These men might better improve their well-being by finishing what Mother Nature has started.
University of Pennsylvania study

The study conducted three experiments in which participants rated photos and descriptions of bald men and those with hair on characteristics such as dominance, confidence, masculinity and attractiveness. The studies found bald men were seen as more dominant over their coiffed peers and were viewed as taller and stronger.

But, sorry fellas, dominance doesn't necessarily translate to good looks. In two out of the three experiments, men with shaved heads were seen as considerably less attractive than those with a full head of hair. In one test, a shaved head aged a man by four years.

So why is this? The study said the perceptions stem from signaling and stereotypes. As in, men who choose to lose the hair are conducting a form of expression, "which communicates information about the self otherwise difficult to observe." The study also explained shaved heads "are often found on men in traditionally masculine professions, so dominance may emerge through stereotypical associations with these figures."

The authors then made some practical determinations for a shaved-head lifestyle. For instance, they said men with shaved heads will fare better in negotiations because previous research has found people are more likley to back down to dominant figures.

But the biggest implication may be balding men giving up on products promising to reverse hair loss. Shaving their head, the study said, could up their dominance and quell the psychological effects of hair loss.

"These men might better improve their well-being by finishing what Mother Nature has started," the study stated.