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      The ancestral logic of politics: upper-body strength regulates men's assertion of self-interest over economic redistribution.

      Psychological Science

      Adolescent, Adult, Aggression, Argentina, Arm, anatomy & histology, Decision Making, Denmark, Economics, Female, Humans, Income, Male, Middle Aged, Muscle Contraction, Muscle Strength, Muscle, Skeletal, Politics, Social Behavior, Social Class, United States, Young Adult

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          Abstract

          Over human evolutionary history, upper-body strength has been a major component of fighting ability. Evolutionary models of animal conflict predict that actors with greater fighting ability will more actively attempt to acquire or defend resources than less formidable contestants will. Here, we applied these models to political decision making about redistribution of income and wealth among modern humans. In studies conducted in Argentina, Denmark, and the United States, men with greater upper-body strength more strongly endorsed the self-beneficial position: Among men of lower socioeconomic status (SES), strength predicted increased support for redistribution; among men of higher SES, strength predicted increased opposition to redistribution. Because personal upper-body strength is irrelevant to payoffs from economic policies in modern mass democracies, the continuing role of strength suggests that modern political decision making is shaped by an evolved psychology designed for small-scale groups.

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          Journal
          23670886
          10.1177/0956797612466415

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