Humans, like most animals, have an evolutionary proclivity toward fighting for scarce things – mates, resources, spaces at the bar, whatever.
And like most animals, humans are adapted to see those who are bigger, stronger and more capable of harming them. Hence – according to UCLA researchers – people A think men in photographs with guns in their hands look taller than men holding other objects:
To test this theory, researchers set up a series of experiments in which they had hundreds of participants look at photos of hands holding different objects: handguns, handsaws, power drills and caulking guns. (The hands matched one another in size and appearance.)
Participants were asked to look at the photos and estimate the size of the person holding each object and how muscular he was by choosing one of six body types.
In one round of the experiment involving 628 viewers, the researchers found that men whose hands held a .357-caliber handgun were thought to be almost 5 feet, 10 inches — more than 2 inches taller than men whose hands held a caulking gun.
Men with drills were also on the higher end of the height and strength scale — perhaps because of viewers’ estimates of the strength it would take to hold a drill — but they were still judged to be about half an inch shorter than the gun toters.
Next, they’ll study why women with guns are so much sexier than other women.