If you are a man and climbing the corporate ladder is high priority, going bald might be your key to success.
Men with shaved heads are looked upon as more masculine, dominant, and even possessing greater leadership potential than those with longer hair or a thinning crown, according to a recent paper by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.
For the study, some 344 subjects were shown photos of the same men in two versions: one with hair, and the other with the hair digitally removed, so he appears bald.
The subjects reported finding the men with shaved heads more dominant than their more hairy counterparts, and perceived to be an inch taller and 13% stronger. The study also found that men with thinning hair were viewed as the least attractive and powerful.
Just as older silverback gorillas are "typically the powerful actors in their social groups" in the wild, so it goes in the office, where a bald head may "signal who is in charge and potentially dangerous," Caroline Keating, a Colgate University social psychologist who studies dominance, was quoted by The Wall Street Journal.
Michael Cunningham, a professor at the University of Louisville, who has studied social perceptions of baldness, added that a bare scalp is “nature’s way of telling the rest of the world that you are a survivor”. It conveys aggressiveness, competitiveness and shows “willingness to stand against social norms”, he explained.
Wharton management lecturer Dr. Albert Mannes, who conducted the experiment, was inspired to conduct the research after noticing that people treated him differently when he shaved off his own thinning hair.