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Study: Bald Men Seem More Powerful and Successful

Science By

Grab the clippers.

Hairless by choice or genetics, it doesn’t matter—bald men are seen by everyone around them as more intelligent, successful, and masculine, a study from the University of Pennsylvania suggests.


Participants in the 2012 study were given a series of pictures that they viewed twice: once, the man in the photo had a full head of hair; and in the other, the same man sported a shorn scalp. The bald men were reported as more dominant, bigger, and stronger by participants—important features in a world where appearances can dictate whether or not you’re offered that big raise or promotion you’ve been vying for.

What is it about baldness that’s considered dominant? Seth Godin, a bald tech-entrepreneur, told the Wall Street Journal his theory: “I’m not saying that shaving your head makes you successful, but it starts the conversation that you’ve done something active,” Godin said. “These are people who decide to own what they have, as opposed to trying to pretend to be something else.”

Interestingly, partial baldness doesn’t apply. Positive characteristics in the study were only attributed to completely hairless men—patches or patterns were perceived as weaker and unattractive by participants.

Read the study in its entirety here.

RealClearLife Staff