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    kenn's Avatar
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    Bicep size & belief systems

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    PROBLEM: The pre-societal, animal model of conflict resolution is simple, brutal, and effective. Leaving aside political gambles, moral considerations, and the like, the strong are more willing to fight for their self-interest, while the weak find it more advantageous not to assert themselves. Extrapolated to a fairly simple conflict of interest -- wealth redistribution -- do modern humans operate under the same logic?



    METHODOLOGY: Researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark and UC Santa Barbara collected from several hundred men and women in Argentina, the U.S., and Denmark. They categorized the subjects by socioeconomic class, their upper-body strength, or "fighting ability" (as measured by the "circumference of the flexed bicep of the dominant arm"), and their responses to a questionnaire gauging their support for economic redistribution.


    RESULTS: Rich men, who would benefit least from redistribution, were more likely to be opposed to it -- but only when they also had large biceps. There was a negative correlation between the two, so that rich men with less muscle strength were more open to redistribution. In men of lower socioeconomic status, the correlation was reversed: stronger men were more in favor of redistribution, while men with smaller muscles were less likely to support it.


    These associations remained significant even once the researchers controlled for political party. No relationship between strength and ideology, however, was seen in women.




    IMPLICATIONS: Evolutionarily speaking, write the authors, "it is a fitness error for weaker contestants to attempt to seize resources when they cannot prevail and for stronger ones to cede what they can cost-effectively defend," at least in men. For women (again, in terms of evolution), physical conflict is rarely worth it. Regardless of the high-minded ideas we may have about how our ideologies are formed, their findings suggest, whether we argue in favor of the common good or our own self-interest is to some degree influenced by who would win should it come down to an arm wrestle.
    Study: Men's Biceps Predict Their Political Ideology - Lindsay Abrams - The Atlantic

    so would your beliefs change when you get big biceps from going primal?
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    eKatherine's Avatar
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    I have gotten big biceps, not from going primal, but from working out on my pullup bar. It hasn't changed my politico-economic orientation.

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    It may be more to do with testosterone. I doubt that the stronger of these men were all working out and the weaker were all sat on couches. It's more likely that muscle distribution was partly down to activity, but also partly down to latent testosterone.
    Someone with higher testosterone is more likely to develop physical strength and muscle mass (even without really trying), more likely to be an alpha, gamma or beta type, far less likely to be passive and accept social change that would harm them.
    Someone with lower testosterone is less likely to easily develop muscle, more likely to be a delta or omega type and less likely to destabilize their environment, even if it gives them a chance at a better life.

    Of course, some people with low testosterone could boost it with exercise, diet or steroids. This typically results in a more assertive, dominant individual (though sometimes in someone aggressive, when a true "omega" boosts their T) who would be less likely to compromise their own success. So it COULD change, but I doubt it does so all that often.
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    Growing my biceps changed my world-view completely, especially the last two inches...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kochin View Post
    It may be more to do with testosterone. I doubt that the stronger of these men were all working out and the weaker were all sat on couches. It's more likely that muscle distribution was partly down to activity, but also partly down to latent testosterone.
    Someone with higher testosterone is more likely to develop physical strength and muscle mass (even without really trying), more likely to be an alpha, gamma or beta type, far less likely to be passive and accept social change that would harm them.
    Someone with lower testosterone is less likely to easily develop muscle, more likely to be a delta or omega type and less likely to destabilize their environment, even if it gives them a chance at a better life.

    Of course, some people with low testosterone could boost it with exercise, diet or steroids. This typically results in a more assertive, dominant individual (though sometimes in someone aggressive, when a true "omega" boosts their T) who would be less likely to compromise their own success. So it COULD change, but I doubt it does so all that often.
    I think it's also true that people who try it and find they get quick results are more likely to keep with it than those who see imperceptibly slow results.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eKatherine View Post
    I have gotten big biceps, not from going primal, but from working out on my pullup bar. It hasn't changed my politico-economic orientation.
    One issue with the study: note no correlation between bicep size and behavior in women, which immediately invalidates their main thesis measuring tool
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenn View Post
    One issue with the study: note no correlation between bicep size and behavior in women, which immediately invalidates their main thesis measuring tool
    Not necessarily. There are many instances where the behaviors of men and women in a given situation are simply different.

    For instance, taller men are treated as leaders, simply because they are tall, and shorter men as followers. A shorter man will behave in small ways as though he is threatened by the presence of a taller man. He responds differently than he would with a man or men his own height.

    But women do not behave differently in the presence of taller women or men. They do not feel threatened or challenged.

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    I'm scrawny and poor. I do not believe in redistribution of wealth. I guess I am an anomaly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aliphian View Post
    I'm scrawny and poor. I do not believe in redistribution of wealth. I guess I am an anomaly.
    And then there's the question, redistribution of wealth of what sort? Because redistribution of wealth is a double-ended arrow. Wealth can and does move in either direction depending on political and economic considerations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eKatherine View Post
    And then there's the question, redistribution of wealth of what sort? Because redistribution of wealth is a double-ended arrow. Wealth can and does move in either direction depending on political and economic considerations.
    Socialism/Communism

    Using the state to force people to give up their wealth so it can be given to those that the state decides to.
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