Why are action stars more likely to be Republican?

Apr 10, 2012

Fighting ability, largely determined by upper body strength, continues to rule the minds of modern men, according to a new study by Aaron Sell from Griffith University in Australia and colleagues. Their work explores the concept that human males are designed for fighting, and shows how this fighting ability drives both their behavior and attitudes to a range issues, including political orientation. For example, their research demonstrates that among Hollywood actors, those selected for their physical strength, i.e. action stars, are more likely to support the Republican position on foreign policy.The study is published online in Springer's journal Human Nature, and is part of a special issue² on the evolution of human aggression.

Multiple research disciplines have found evidence that our male ancestors used to compete for status. The evidence shows how this competition led to the evolution of numerous physical and psychological sex differences. Sell and team's review highlights the sheer number of physical and mental features that show evidence of special design for physical aggression in men, compared to women. These features include abilities to dissipate heat, perceive and respond rapidly to threats, estimate the trajectory of thrown objects, resist blunt-force trauma and accurately intercept objects.

While fighting ability was undoubtedly essential when man was a hunter-gatherer, how important and influential is it today? According to Sell and colleagues' work, man's fighting ability is still a major influence on his and behavioral responses.

Multiple studies conducted from the US, East India, Bolivia and the Central African Republic show that physically strong men have a greater sense of entitlement, a shorter fuse on anger, and are more likely to turn aggressive when angry. The effects are quite substantial, often two to four times larger than the known effect of testosterone on aggression.

The authors applied the same analysis to attitudes on warfare and found that stronger men, compared to weaker men, were more likely to believe in the utility of political aggression as a means of resolving conflicts of interest. Using a sample of Hollywood stars they demonstrated that those actors known for their and formidability, among them Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris and Sylvester Stallone, were more likely to support military action. Generally speaking, Hollywood actors are left wing, but the action stars among them were more likely than not to support the Republican position on .

The authors conclude: "Upper body strength in adult males is a crucial variable that appears to have impacts on a wide range of mental mechanisms. These mechanisms were designed by natural selection at a time when personal physical aggression was far more common and individual differences in fighting ability were far more relevant for the resolution of conflicts. Despite the steady decline in physical aggression and violent deaths that have accompanied Western civilization, the human mind is still designed for ancestral environments."

Explore further: Local education politics 'far from dead'

More information: 1. Sell A et al (2012). The importance of physical strength to human males. Human Nature; 10.1007/s12110-012-9131-2
2. Human Nature, Special issue: Evolution of Human Aggression, Vol. 23, No. 1, www.springerlink.com/content/1045-6767/23/1/

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User comments : 12

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millerzep
4.3 / 5 (6) Apr 10, 2012
I wonder if people who experience a large increase in strength, ie start working out and put on a lot of muscle experience changes in their political views.
kaasinees
Apr 10, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
ryggesogn2
2.6 / 5 (10) Apr 10, 2012
Here we go again.
Another 'scientific' article designed to make 'liberals' feel better about themselves.

How about the female actors like Bo Derek, Sela Ward, Shirly Temple, ....
http://www.ranker...rvatives

Are Adam Sandler, Jimmy Stewart, Gene Simmons, Pat Boone, Bob Hope, Alice Cooper, Dennis Hopper, Frankie Avalon, Jon Voight, .... action stars?
http://www.ranker...s?page=5
kaasinees
Apr 10, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (9) Apr 10, 2012
Because they got their job and money from republicans?

Like 'liberal' Harvey Weinstein or Spielberg?

Or, maybe, they just want to make money? (How anti-'liberal'!)
"Wanna make money in Hollywood? Release patriotic movies that promote conservative values and do not denigrate Christianity."
http://www.hollyw...y-287816

kaasinees
1 / 5 (28) Apr 10, 2012
Liberals, conservatives and republicans. What is the difference?
Shootist
3.3 / 5 (3) Apr 10, 2012
Liberals, conservatives and republicans. What is the difference?


Between liberals and republicans? Not one whit. Two sides of the same coin.

Think about this. There hasn't been a conservative President since Harry Truman (and he was both, an accident and a democrat). And before the neanders start saying, "Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Bush, let me remind them that Nixon proposed the first Universal Healthcare system (the democrats promptly voted down), Reagan supported heavy gun control and Bush and Bush tried to "export" democracy (political scientists call this Wilsonian democracy, after Pres Wilson - Democrat).
bredmond
2 / 5 (4) Apr 11, 2012
Fighting ability, largely determined by upper body strength,


I don't agree. Upper body strength may help with some things like knockout power and the ability to reduce shock to the system, but there are many more things that factor in to fighting ability. Also with greater upper body strength, the body requires more oxygen. Such fighters often shut down after the first few minutes.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.3 / 5 (39) Apr 11, 2012
During the Nazi period of German history, most action stars were Nazi's.

alfie_null
4 / 5 (2) Apr 11, 2012
Hollywood actors are subject to a range of influences, let alone actors that tend to play aggressive roles. How about some isolation?
How do other groups that have high upper body strength measure? Gymnasts? Ballet dancers?, etc.
antialias_physorg
4.3 / 5 (3) Apr 11, 2012
Liberals, conservatives and republicans. What is the difference?
Add democrats. Really. To the rest of the world these parties are either extremely right wing (democrats) or ultra right wing (the rest). There's no 'moderate' party (much less a left leaning one) in the US. The differences between the tow big parties are just superficial.
Sigh
1 / 5 (1) Apr 11, 2012
I wonder if people who experience a large increase in strength, ie start working out and put on a lot of muscle experience changes in their political views.

Absolutely right. You could explain this correlation by saying the attitudes are the cause and the interest in fighting ability the effect.

During the Nazi period of German history, most action stars were Nazi's.

A few years into the Nazi period, not just action stars may have claimed allegiance to the Nazi party, whatever their real opinions. You didn't get to be in movies unless approved by the party. That factor doesn't operate in Hollywood, so your example doesn't add to the data.

Are Adam Sandler, Jimmy Stewart, Gene Simmons, Pat Boone, Bob Hope, Alice Cooper, Dennis Hopper, Frankie Avalon, Jon Voight, .... action stars?

As irrelevant as VD's example. Correlations can be statistically extremely reliable even when smaller than 1, allowing you to find counterexamples while totally missing the point.
Cluebat from Exodar
3.3 / 5 (3) Apr 11, 2012
Why are effete snobs more likely to register Democrat?

Because CPUSA is unlikely to win any elections in todays environment. They're still working on that.

The Bruce Willis types may be generally considered to be industrious, independent, classical liberals who chose to register as Repubs as the lesser of two evils.

We won't hear that consideration hear though. Repubs being a monolithic bunch of racist xenophobes and all.
extinct
3 / 5 (2) Apr 11, 2012
animal vs. spirit, in any given human being. the reason why repubs are more likely to enjoy blood&guts sports carnage, pre-emptive war strikes, etc., is the same reason why they do well in action movies as opposed to movies requiring actual acting versatility; they lack higher consciousness and so they can't help but to make the most of their lower consciousness.
the ultimate goal of homo sapiens is to evolve spiritually, with the gift of higher consciousness that sets us apart from ordinary animals (or so we claim, anyway). since repubs are totally out of touch with their soul/spiritual side, they are virtual pieces of deadweight zombie meat (from their own perspective, not from mine; i think we're all interconnected), so they act (no pun intended) accordingly. why the findings in the article would surprise anyone is beyond me. the only answers i can think of are egotism or denial.