UCLA anthropologists found that test subjects holding a handgun are significantly more terrifying than people holding tools or other objects. Are you surprised?
During the experiment, scientists asked men to hold an object, ranging from hand guns and water guns to saws and paint brushes. The anthropologist took a photograph of each hand and showed them to 600 test subjects, who were then asked to guess the approximate height and strength of the person holding the object.
Their answers confirmed what we knew all along: people who hold guns are more intimidating. On average, test subjects guessed that men with pistols were 17% taller and stronger than the weakest subject, the man holding a caulking gun (we would’ve guessed water gun).
The anthropologists suggest that this is a result of primordial psychology that judges the threat level of strangers based on their physical stature. As it turns out, a man holding a spear or a shotgun is more threatening than a man holding a fluffy bunny or nothing at all. Did we really need lab coats and government grants to come to this conclusion?
We find these results particularly interesting in the context of the gun debate. After all, one of the primary arguments for gun access is that criminals will be more hesitant to break the law if they think that their targets are packing heat. Thank you, UCLA, for giving scientific validity to an argument that we all already knew was correct.