Baldness might not be such a bad thing for men after all, according to American researchers.
A team at the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study entitled, “Shown Scalps and Perception of Male Dominance,” which found that bald men are perceived to be more confident, more dominant and even taller, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The researchers handed out three major tests to college students, both men and women. The respondents were asked to rate images of men in terms of attractiveness, confidence and dominance. Some of the images included the same man twice, one that showed a full head of hair and the other with the man bald.
The survey results showed that bald men were ranked as the most confident and dominant, and were viewed to be nearly an inch taller on average. They were also seen to be slightly stronger than their hairy counterparts.
The study authors added a caveat, “Because only their hair was altered in these photographs, other factors cannot account for these differences.”
However, when it came to attractiveness, the bald men received remarkably lower scores. Balding can also make a man appear four years older than he really is. “This may be because a shaved head is atypical or unusual, whereas attractiveness is correlated with what is prototypical or average,” the study stated.
Shaving therefore appears to have complex effects on how men are perceived.
The study concludes that bald men may have the upper hand after all, as they “will fare better economically in negotiations” due to their perceived dominant appearance.
The researchers have a suggestion for men with thinning hair: let nature take its course. “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,” the study advised.
The American Hair Loss Association estimates than 85% of men will have considerably thinning hair by the age of 50. For men who have inherited male pattern baldness, the onset is earlier: 25% will start to lose hair by as young as 21 years old.