From Bruce Willis to The Rock, bald men in Hollywood are regularly cast as dominant characters in action films.
And it seems that while many men worry about losing their hair, baldness could be linked to a range of beneficial traits.
Studies have shown baldness in men is seen as a non-threatening form of social dominance.
Bald men are also thought to be more socially mature, intelligent, educated and honest compared with men who have a full head of hair.
From Bruce Willis to The Rock, bald men in Hollywood are regularly cast as dominant characters in action films. Studies have shown that bald men are seen as more dominant and socially mature – traits that could have evolved to compensate for a decrease in attractiveness
The trait is often inherited and can be seen in every ethnic group.
This made researchers question why the trait had not died out, despite being perceived as a bad thing.
Several years ago, researchers from Barry University in Florida performed a study to test why baldness was continuing to evolve.
Dr Frank Muscarella, who led the study, told MailOnline: ‘I speculated that male pattern baldness evolved as an appeasement signal and signalled benign, non-threatening dominance.’
To understand why baldness would be passed on, the researchers asked people to view and rate a range of men on four independent scales.
These measured physical attractiveness, aggressiveness, appeasement, and social maturity – a measure of factors including honesty, intelligence, and social status.
The results showed men with a full head of hair had the lowest ratings of social maturity, the men with receding hair higher, and bald men the highest.
Normally, signs of dominance in men, such as height and musculature increase men’s perceived attractiveness, which could explain why they would be passed on. Pictured is Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, in 2015 film, San Andreas
In addition, ratings for diplomacy were in a similar direction, and ratings for aggressiveness in the opposite direction.
Dr Muscarella said: ‘All of these rating were consistent with the idea that baldness evolved to signal a form of non-threatening social dominance.’
As expected, ratings for physical attractiveness decreased with increased baldness.
But Dr Muscarella said: ‘It could be speculated that although the characteristic of baldness decreases a man’s perceived physical attractiveness, it increases his perceived social dominance.
‘There is a large body of literature that shows that although women like physically attractive men, they are also very attracted to signs of high social dominance.
‘Consequently, it could now be explained how the characteristic was passed on.’
Baldness results from the follicles producing the same type of hair – known as ‘vellus hair’ as found in infants, whose heads are appealing, appeasing, and send a signal that makes one want to approach them and touch them (stock image)
More recently, Dr Muscarella performed an unpublished study, which showed that there was no relationship between the amount of baldness a man exhibited and the number of sexual partners he had over his life.
While this does not necessarily show balding men attracted more women, it does suggest the baldness is not an impediment for men in attracting women.
Dr Muscarella said: ‘My speculation is that as humans evolved and the group became increasingly important for survival, males played a more integral role in the family group, and it may have been adaptive to evolve a morphological sign of this dominance-related role and one that made the adult males appear less threatening and more approachable to facilitate interactions with them.’
Baldness results from the follicles producing the same type of hair – known as ‘vellus hair’ as found in infants.
Dr Muscarella said: ‘The bald head of infants are appealing, appeasing, and send a signal that makes one want to approach them and touch them.
‘One might say the same of Santa Claus’s bald head.
‘Santa Claus is the epitome of the older adult male with high social status who is nonthreatening (despite his big beard) and draws others to him and contributes to their well-being.’
These findings suggest instead of spending billions each year trying to reverse or cure their hair loss, men experiencing male pattern baldness could shave their heads.
Going bald could also have benefits for men’s health.
A study in 2010 found that men who start going bald at a young age are up to 45 per cent less likely to fall victim to prostate cancer later in life.
While men with a full head of hair have the lowest ratings of social maturity, men with receding hair and bald men have the highest. Pictured is Jason Statham
The scientists, from the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, studied 2,000 men aged between 40 and 47, half of whom had suffered prostate cancer.
Their results showed men who had started to develop bald spots on the top of their heads as well as receding hairlines had the least risk of cancer.
‘At first, the findings were surprising,’ said Professor Jonathan Wright, who led the study.
Overall, it seems that going bald could help men get ahead – whether it’s appearing more dominant and intelligent, or in reducing the risk of prostate cancer. Pictured is Vin Diesel
‘But we found that early onset baldness was associated with a 29 per cent to 45 per cent reduction in their relative risk of prostate cancer.’
Those diagnosed with prostate cancer are often given drugs to reduce testosterone levels because the hormone can accelerate the growth of some tumours once they develop.
But the research suggests being exposed to high levels of testosterone from a young age might actually help to protect against the disease.
Overall, it seems that going bald could help men get ahead – whether it’s appearing more dominant and intelligent, or in reducing the risk of prostate cancer.
This could explain why the trait seen by many as a problem, has continued to be passed through generations.
Source: Daily Mail