Caveman Politics

Evolutionary Leadership Preferences and Physical Stature

Gregory Roy Murray, J. David Schmitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Following evolutionary psychology, we argue that physical stature matters in preferences regarding political leadership. Particularly, a preference for physically formidable leaders evolved to promote survivability in the violent human ancestral history. Methods: We present two studies of original data to assess individual attitudes regarding the association between physical stature and political leadership. Analytical methods include ordered probit regression. Results: The findings are consistent with the evolutionary theory presented here. Study 1 indicates that individuals tend to prefer leaders with greater physical stature, while Study 2 indicates that males with greater physical stature are more likely to think of themselves as qualified to be a leader and, through this increased sense of efficacy, they are more likely to demonstrate interest in pursuing a leadership position. Conclusion: Consistent with emerging evidence from other research perspectives, political behavior, in this case preferences regarding political leadership, is shaped by both environmental and evolutionary forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1215-1235
Number of pages21
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Volume92
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011

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political leadership
leadership
leader
politics
evolutionary theory
political behavior
psychology
regression
history
evidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

Caveman Politics : Evolutionary Leadership Preferences and Physical Stature. / Murray, Gregory Roy; Schmitz, J. David.

In: Social Science Quarterly, Vol. 92, No. 5, 01.12.2011, p. 1215-1235.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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