How Your Muscles Impact Your Politics

Study finds that the physically strong more likely to protect self-interest
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2013 4:37 PM CDT
How Your Muscles Impact Your Politics
We actually have no idea what kind of political beliefs Egyptian bodybuilder Moustafa Ismail, pictured here, holds. But you would be hard pressed to find somebody with bigger biceps.   (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

Are our political debates really just pantomimes of primitive chest-thumping exercises? A new study surveying people about their opinions on the redistribution of wealth and the size of their biceps certainly suggests so. The results: Those with big muscles who were rich tended to vehemently oppose redistribution, while strong poor people tended to vehemently back it. Conversely, rich people with chicken arms were less gung ho about protecting their wealth, and poor weaklings were less interested in trying to get it, Reason reports.

The findings confirmed the researchers' hunch that stronger people were more likely to politically fight for their own self-interest in the same way strong cavemen would have physically fought for theirs, notes Science Blog. "While many think of politics as a modern phenomenon, it has—in a sense—always been with our species," one of the researchers says. The study examined people in the US, Argentina, and Denmark. The three countries have very different economic policies, the researcher points out, but "at the psychological level individuals reason about welfare distribution in the same way." (Read more ideology stories.)

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