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Foes seem fearsome when holding a weapon

United States America,Science/Tech, Thu, 12 Apr 2012 IANS

Washington, April 12 (IANS) Holding a weapon makes men look taller and more muscular, which only confirms what scrawny thugs have long known, new research says.


Researchers, led by Daniel Fessler from the University of California-Los Angeles, conducted a number of online surveys to determine that men holding a gun or a large kitchen knife were viewed as larger and more muscular than men holding non-threatening objects.


"For nearly all vertebrates, size matters - bigger animals win fights with smaller animals. Human psychology reflects this, as people use size as a way of conceptualizing how dangerous another person might be," said Fessler, the journal public library of Science ONE reported.


The findings suggest an unconscious mental mechanism that gauges a potential adversary and then translates the magnitude of that threat into the same dimensions used by animals to size up their adversaries: size and strength, according to a university statement.


This pattern cannot be explained by any actual correlation between gun ownership and physical size, the researchers concluded.


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