Leaders should have a healthy rather than intelligent look


People all have their own reasons for becoming healthy. It could be to lose weight to fit into a pair of trousers or to ward off disease, but a new reason has now been added – getting elected.

A new study published in the journal ‘Frontiers in Human Neuroscience’ indicates that if you want to be crowned the leader of a group, a healthy look, sometimes more than an intelligent one, should be your best asset.

Researchers asked a group of 148 people to choose a leader for their organisation from a database of faces. Four important evolutionary scenarios were to be considered:

• Selecting a group leader for competition with other groups
• Selecting a leader to establish cooperation between groups
• Choosing someone to exploit current resources conservatively
• Selecting someone who would explore new alternatives

Some of the faces in the database were adjusted to look more or less intelligent by the manipulation of bone structure. An interesting fact is that masculine characteristics, such as a strong jawline, were linked to lower intelligence. Some of the faces were adjusted to look more or less healthy by adjusting the skin pigmentation, such as giving the face ruddier cheeks which implied a glow from a healthy diet and a complexion which was less grey to indicate good health.

People placed value on both traits, but good health appeared to be the most influential.

The lead author of the study, Brian Spisak based at the VU University Amsterdam, said when people were voting for their leaders, this appeared to dominate every type of voting exemplar given to the participants.

When it came to what measurement people used to evaluate health, the results showed that facial colour could be more important that facial structure. It showed that a healthy glow may be an important factor to how other people perceive you.

So if you are looking for a leadership position, and you do not have a healthy glow to your face, you should reconsider your diet!

Image Credit: tommerton2010


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