Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Submissive men are more sensitive to cues of male dominance

According to this 2010 study, less dominant men are more sensitive to physical dominance cues in other men. By dominance cues, the authors mean masculine features like a prominent jaw or brow. They conclude that this sensitivity is adaptive since it is more costly for a submissive man to misperceive the dominance of another man. Their findings are consistent with another study which showed that shorter men notice signs of dominance more than tall men.


  1. Anonymous12:59 PM

    Does a person like Bill Gates show dominance? I am teacher and I am 100% certain of a strong negative relationship between testosterone and intelligence (within normal limits). I wonder if men like Gates show dominance or if they just live in a world of weakly-jawed men where dominance shifts from face to IQ.

  2. Anonymous3:00 AM

    I haven't read the study but folk may be interested in thinking about people like myself or Zuckerberg (as portrayed in the movie) or, less charitably, Ziggy from The Wire. I'm somewhat small and unathletic but I have an exceedingly strong individualistic streak and ego (as well as what to be arrogant about considering my exceedingly high intelligence in a few spheres, some with social cache such as humor and eloquence). Haters have often claimed a Napoleon Complex for folk such as myself but I think they're mistaking correlation (there are people like me of every height and body type) with causation (he's overcompensation for his physical slightness with his confident personality and ego) for personal psychiatric reasons of their own.

    A good evolutionary case however could still easilly be made for submissiveness among the slight: Ziggy would be free, Mark likely wouldn't have been sued and I wouldn't be in precarious situations so often as I talk back to large and occassionally armed people and mock them in front of their friends. Then again, a good evolutionary case could be made in favor of my confidence and ego as well as in favor of most anything. That's the problem with evolutionary speculation, it takes a lot of thinking about things before you can distinguish how the leopard got its spots from how the jew got his mathematical talent.

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