advertisement
12 April 2012

People holding guns look bigger than they are

Holding a gun makes a man appear bigger and stronger than he actually is, a new study indicates.

0

Holding a gun makes a man appear bigger and stronger than he actually is, a new study indicates.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, asked hundreds of people to guess the size and muscularity of four men simply by looking at photos of the men's hands holding a number of easily recognisable objects: a caulking gun, an electric drill, a large saw or a handgun.

How the study was done

The hands of the four men in the photos were the same size and had no distinguishing features, such as tattoos or scars. Even so, the study participants consistently estimated men holding guns to be taller and stronger than men holding the other objects.

"There's nothing about the knowledge that gun powder makes lead bullets fly through the air at damage-causing speeds that should make you think that a gun-bearer is bigger or stronger, yet you do," study author Daniel Fessler, an associate professor of anthropology, said.

"Danger really does loom large - in our minds," he added.

Gauging an adversary

The findings suggest that, like other animals, humans have an unconscious ability to gauge a potential adversary and decide whether they would win or lose a physical confrontation, the researchers said.

"We've isolated a capacity to assess threats in a simple way," study co-author Colin Holbrook, a postdoctoral scholar in anthropology, said in the news release. "Though this capacity is very efficient, it can misguide us."

The study, published in the journal PLoS One, is part of a larger project funded by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research to learn about how people make decisions in potentially violent situations.

The findings could prove useful for law enforcement, prison guards and the military, the researchers said.

Read more:
Guns kill more in gangs than drugs

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about threat perception.


(Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

 

More:

ManNews
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Coffee and wine for the win! »

Could heartburn drugs upset your 'good' gut bacteria? Life is a gut reaction

Good news! Coffee & wine may promote a healthy gut

Diverse bacteria help your gut stay healthy. Here's how what you eat and drink can help or harm that balance - and it's not all bad news.

I gave hubby HIV »

Giving babies antibodies promptly may eliminate HIV Vaginal ring to prevent HIV on the cards

I gave my husband HIV and watched him die

Stephanie van Niekerk unwittingly infected her husband with HIV and ended up having to watch him wither and die in front of her very eyes. This is Stephanie's story in her own words.