Is sociopolitical egalitarianism related to bodily and facial formidability in men?

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Evolution and Human Behavior, ISSN: 1090-5138, Vol: 38, Issue: 5, Page: 626-634

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Michael E. Price; Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington; James Sidnaius; Nicholas Pound
Elsevier BV
Agricultural and Biological Sciences; Psychology; Arts and Humanities
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Social bargaining models predict that men should calibrate their egalitarian attitudes to their formidability and/or attractiveness. A simple social bargaining model predicts a direct negative association between formidability/attractiveness and egalitarianism, whereas a more complex model predicts an association moderated by wealth. Our study tested both models with 171 men, using two sociopolitical egalitarianism measures: social dominance orientation and support for redistribution. Predictors included bodily formidability and attractiveness and four facial measures (attractiveness, dominance, masculinity, and width-to-height ratio). We also controlled for time spent lifting weights, and experimentally manipulated self-perceived formidability in an attempt to influence egalitarianism. Both the simple and complex social bargaining models received partial support: sociopolitical egalitarianism was negatively related to bodily formidability, but unrelated to other measures of bodily/facial formidability/attractiveness; and a formidability-wealth interaction did predict variance in support for redistribution, but the nature of this interaction differed somewhat from that reported in previous research. Results of the experimental manipulation suggested that egalitarianism is unaffected by self-perceived formidability in the immediate short-term. In sum, results provided some support for both the simple and complex social bargaining models, but suggested that further research is needed to explain why male formidability/attractiveness and egalitarianism are so often negatively related.