A person wielding a gun appears bigger and brawnier than a person without a gun, according to a new UCLA study. Researchers showed photographs of hands clutching guns, power drills, handsaws, and other tools to test subjects and then asked them to guess the size and muscularity of the person holding the object. The photos with guns received the largest estimates, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The reason may stem from evolution. A gun means danger, and the human brain's model of assessing threats is associated with an image of size and strength. Another test used photos of hands grasping a paintbrush, a kitchen knife, and a squirt gun. The photos with the knives garnered the highest estimates of strength. Studies of threat assessment could be helpful for police and soldiers, said an anthropologist. (Read more guns stories.)