Cornell: Overweight men seen as more persuasive, advantage does not extend to women

Men carrying extra weight are often associated with being more persuasive in the workplace, but the same benefits to not apply to women with extra weight, according to research from Cornell University, published by Plos One.

The research is based on a series of six studies investigating a potential link in perceptions between weight and persuasiveness, as well as potential differences for women and/or people from non-Western countries. Researchers wanted to see if the "big man" concept still affects modern thinking. The big man concept dates to preindustrial societies, in which larger physical stature was associated with access to food and less exertion of energy. In other words, being overweight was a status symbol.

"Our findings suggest an evolved bias to favor moderately big men — with respect to perceived persuasiveness — even in environments where there is no reason to interpret over-consumption of food and conservation of energy as a signal of wealth," the study authors wrote.

Read more here.

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