Losing Hair, Losing Points?: The Effects of Male Pattern Baldness on Social Impression Formation1

    February 1990 in “Journal of Applied Social Psychology
    Thomas F. Cash
    Image of study
    TLDR Bald men are often viewed more negatively and as older than they really are.
    The study by Thomas F. Cash showed that male pattern baldness (MPB) leads to more negative initial social perceptions of men. Involving 108 participants who rated photographs of balding and nonbalding men, the research found that balding men were seen as less attractive, less assertive, socially less appealing, less likely to be successful, and less likable. They were also perceived to be older than their actual age by an average of 3.6 years. These negative perceptions were not significantly affected by the sex of the person judging but were slightly influenced by the age of both the judge and the men being judged. The study concluded that the negative stereotypes of baldness are mainly due to its effect on perceived physical attractiveness and that grooming to enhance attractiveness might mitigate some of the negative perceptions associated with hair loss. The paper also calls for more comprehensive research into the psychological impact of physical attributes, including baldness, on men's psychosocial experiences.
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