]OURNAL OF NONVERBALBEHAVlOR
ited information, and outward appearances shape first impressions (Burgoon, Buller, & Woodall, 1989, pp. 221-222).
Students of e[ectoral behavior have [ong grasped the importance of
candidate image as a determinant of vote choice (see, e.g., Abelson,
Kinder, Peters, & Fiske, 1982; Nimmo & Savage, 1976), but the rise of
television as a medium of political communication has undoubtedly enhanced the impact of a candidate's personal appearance. In the words of
Although the Constitution makes no mention of it, it would appear that
fat people are now effectively excluded from running for high political
office. Probably bald people as weil . . . . Indeed, we may have reached
the point where cosmetics has replaced ideology as the field of expertise over which a politician must have competent control (1985, pp.
Some might dismiss Postman's fears as far-fetched, but his argument is
actually consistent with much empirical research. For example, in a study
of Canadian parliamentary races Efran and Patterson (1974) reported that
better Iooking candidates carried an average of three times as many votes
as their less attractive peers. Several other studies have used experimental
methods to isolate the mechanisms by which physical attractiveness influences vote choice. Sigelman, Thomas, Sigelman, and Ribich (1986), for
example, provided "voters" in an experimental setting with textual information about, and photographs of, six different candidates representing
varying levels of physical attractiveness. The appeal of three male candidates increased as a function of their attractiveness, while for three women
candidates the link between attractiveness and electability was less
straightforward. In another experimental study, Rosenberg, Bohan, McCafferty, and Harris (1986) distributed campaign brochures that were identical
except for the photo each contained of an ostensible congressional candidate. Some photos were chosen because their subject was unusually high
in "congressional demeanor," others because their subject was unusually
lacking in the same quality. In a simulated election, candidates who
[ooked the part enjoyed significantly greater success than those who
seemed miscast. In a subsequent study, Rosenberg (1990) engaged a professional makeup artist to refashion the images of the individuals pictured
in campaign materials distributed to experimental subjects. Predictably,
the "made over" candidates won a significantly larger share of the subjects'
votes (see also Rosenberg & McCafferty, 1987, and Sigelman & Sigelman,
So there is abundant evidence, based on both observational and experimental research, that candidates' personal appearance can enhance or
SIGELMAN, DAWSON, NITZ, WHICKER
detract from their appeal to voters. This is a good beginning, but it is only a
beginning, for personal appearance has been treated as a global phenomenon, with little or no attempt made to identify particular physical features
that play leading roles in impression formation. Fortunately, it is not all
that difficult to imagine what one of the key physical features shaping the
impression formation process might be.
Hair Loss and Impression Formation
Humans "exhibit an overwhelming preoccupation with our hair and-more sadly, in our later years--with the lack of it" (Cooper, 1981, pp. 7).
Hirsuteness has Iong symbolized strength and masculinity (Cooper, 1981;
K[enhard, 1986), as in the biblical story of Samson and Delilah, while
balding has been viewed as a visible sign of deterioration--"a symbol of
senility, a by-product of a general decline" (Guthrie, 1977, pp. 69). This
age-old preoccupation with hair is ironic, since hair [oss is actua[ly associated with the over-production of male sex hormones. Perhaps for this reason a receding hairline appears to be among the panculturally recognized
signals of dominance (Keating, Mazur, & Segal, 1981), though the explanation for this could lie in the age-grading of dominance systems rather
than the traits ascribed to hair Ioss per se. But no matter whether it Iogically should be baldness, not hairiness, that signals male dominance and
virility, in youth-oriented cultures going bald is, as Desmond Morris (1985)
notes, "clearly something of a disaster, especially for males who appear in
public." It is precisely for this reason that hair transplant clinics and toupee
shops are growth industries (Klenhard, 1986, p. 23) and that "probably
more people have been duped by 'hair-growing' elixirs than by any other
ineffectual cosmetic" (Guthrie, 1977, p. 74).
Despite the attention it has historically received and the negative connotations associated with it, until recently hair Ioss has been a "blind spot"
(Cash, 1988a)--one is tempted to say a "bald spot'--in research on impression formation. Few pertinent studies have been undertaken (Franzoi,
Anderson, & Frommelt, 1990; Hankins, McKinnie, & Bailey, 1979; Roll &
Verinis, 1971 ), and most of the research that has been done either is methodologically suspect or speaks only indirectly, if that, to the questions that
motivate the present study. By far best existing study, by virtually any standard, is that of Cash (1988a), who matched photos of nine bald or balding
men to those of nine other men with no visible hair Ioss. Three groups of
subjects--university students, staff members, and faculty members-viewed slides of all 18 models and rated each in terms of self-assertive-
OURNAL OF NONVERBAL BEHAVIOR
ness, social attractiveness, intelligence, life success, personal likability,
physical attractiveness, and perceived age. The bald or balding models
were perceived more negatively on every dimension except intelligence.
Interestingly, hair Ioss did not affect perceptions of the younger models any
more than those of the older models, nor did the sex or age of the raters
have much effect on ratings of the models. Even more interestingly, when
Cash controlled for the models' perceived physical attractiveness, he found
that hair Ioss had no independent impact on perceived life success, likability, and the other evaluative dimensions. He therefore concluded that
the key to understanding the role of hair Ioss in impression formation was
its tendency to undermine perceived physical attractiveness.
The present research, building on the foundation laid by Cash, probes
the implications of baldness in a political context. The guiding idea of the
study is that because visible hair Ioss detracts from a positive personal
image, a bald or balding candidate should find himself at a significant
electoral disadvantage--an idea that has gained wide acceptance as part
of the conventional wisdom of "image politics" even though (or perhaps
precisely because) it has never been subjected to serious empirical scrutiny. Klenhard (1986, p. 24), for example, contends that "President Reagan's campaign was certainly not hurt by possessing the full hairline of an
eighteen-year old. Those that worried about his advanced years were reassured by his vigorous hairline." Our analysis of this idea follows two separate tracks: an observational study of hair Ioss among high-level officeholders in the United States, and an experimental study of the differential
appeal of otherwise identical political candidates, some bald or balding
and others with a full head of hair.
The purpose of Study 1 was to explore the association between hair Ioss
and service in the "real world" of high elective office. The study was designed to examine the possibility that, since hair Ioss is supposed to constitute a political liability, high-level male officeholders would disproportionately be drawn from the segment of the male population with a full
head of hair or with only a minimal degree of hair Ioss.
Data and Method
Norwood (1984), drawing on earlier work by Hamilton (1951), developed a typology of male pattern baldness that ranges from no visible hair
SIGELMAN, DAWSON, NITZ, WHICKER
Ioss (Type I) through progressively more severe degrees, culminating in the
most extreme degree of hair Ioss (Type VII), where "all that remains is a
narrow horseshoe-shaped band of hair that begins laterally just anterior to
the ear and extends posteriorly on the sides and quite Iow on the occiput"
(Norwood, 1984, p. 7). According to Norwood (1984, pp. 5-10), Types I
and Il fall below the baldness threshold, with "significant cosmetic hair
Ioss" beginning at Type III. The Type III pattern is the first to feature "deep
frontotemporal recessions," i.e., a visibly receding hairline. "More advanced degrees of baldness" begin with Type V, in which only a narrow
band on the crown separates the deeply receding frontal hairline from the
large bald spot in the vertex. This seven-category classification scheme,
combined with careful measurement of hair Ioss in men of various ages,
permitted Norwood to derive what have become the standard age-specific
norms for the incidence of male pattern baldness among white American
males. Norwood's norms are much more conservative than Hamilton's
previously accepted ones; at each point on the age scale Norwood's estimates of the incidence of significant or advanced hair Ioss fall at least 20
percentage points below Hamilton's.
We used Norwood's typology to classify every "Anglo" male governor, U.S. Senator, and member of the U.S. House of Representatives as of
1988, taking as our source materials head-and-shoulders photographs published in The Almanac of American Politics (Barone & Ujifusa, 1988). Excluded from consideration, then, were women officeholders and males of
black, Hispanic, American Indian, or Asian extraction--exclusions necessary to maintain consistency with Norwood's normative data. Working independently, two coders compared the 11/2 x 2 inch picture of each officeholder to the series of sketches accompanying Norwood's typology and
then assigned the officeholder to one of Norwood's seven categories. Intercoder reliability proved highly acceptable for the 522 officeholders thus
categorized. Even though differences between adjacent categories in Norwood's scheme are quite subtle and are offen based largely on hair Ioss
patterns that are difficult to detect from a frontal view, the two coders
assigned officeholders to exactly the same category on almost two out of
every three occasions (337 of 522, or 64.6%) and disagreed by as much as
two points on the seven-point scale only ten times (1.9%). The simple
correlation between the two coders' classifications was .870, and scale
reliability, as signified by Cronbach's alpha, was .928. Disagreements between the coders were resolved by randomly selecting the category assigned by one or the other when the two differed by a single point, and by
using the mean of the ratings when they differed by two points.
OURNAL OF NONVERBAL BEHAVlOR
Of the 522 officeholders, 328 (62.8%) were classified as Type I or II-that is, as falling below the minimum baldness thresho[d--and the remaining 194 (37.2%) as Type III or higher--that is, as balding or bald. Using
the more stringent criterion of "advanced'! baldness, only 31 officeholders
(5.9%) were categorized as belonging to Type V, Vl, or VlI. Clearly, then,
significant hair Ioss is the exception rather than the rule among high-level
officeholders in the United States, and advanced hair Ioss is rare. The real
question, though, is how high-level officeholders compare to the public at
large in terms of hair Ioss.
Any simple comparison of the relative frequency of hair Ioss among
officeholders and in the population would immediate[y run afoul of two
considerations: hair Ioss is associated with age (Norwood, 1985), and
high-level officeholders do not constitute a representative cross-section of
adult males with respect to age; for the 522 officeholders classified for this
study, the correlation between age and score on the seven-point hair Ioss
scale is .40 (p<.001). Since our interest lies in the impact of hair Ioss
rather than that of age, we must hold age differences constant when comparing the incidence of hair Ioss in the general population and among
These comparisons were guided by Norwood's data on the extent of
hair Ioss among Anglo males in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. For
example, according to Norwood 55% of Anglo males in their 40s fall into
Type I or II, displaying no significant hair Ioss. If the 178 high-level officeholders in the 40-49 age range were randomly drawn from this age
cohort, we would expect 98 (55%) of them to be in Type I or II. Similar
calculations for each age group yielded the total number of high-level officeholders expected, based on their ages, to fall into Type I or II. Further
analyses centered on whether the extent of advanced hair Ioss (Types V,
Vl, and VII) differed between officeholders and the general public, again
based on Norwood's age-normed data.
The results are simple and dramatic. As noted above, 328 of the 522
officeholders (62.8%) were categorized as Type I or II and 194 (37.2%) as
Type III through VII. However, based on Norwood's age norms only 249 of
these officeholders (47.7%) would have been expected to display no significant hair Ioss, with 273 (52.3%) being expected to fall into Types III
through VII. This difference between the observed and expected incidence
of hair loss is easily statistically significant, X2(1, N = 522) = 48.0,
p<.O01. The same is true of advanced hair Ioss. Norwood's age norms for
advanced hair Ioss would lead one to exoect 118 of the 522 officeholders
SIGELMAN, DAWSON, NITZ, WHICKER
(22.6%) in Types V through VlI, but only 31 (5.9%) actually fell into these
categories, X2(1, N = 522) = 82.9, p<.001, constituting an even more
marked departure from expectations than pertained for the threshold degree of hair Ioss.
The number of bald or balding governors and members of Congress
falls significantly below what would be expected of a randomly selected
group of Anglo men of the same ages. We should caution that Norwood's
age norms are based on careful examination of the heads of actual people,
whereas our data are based on posed frontal photographs. Since some officeholders may have successfully concealed their hair Ioss from the camera, it is possible that the photographs systematically understate the actual
degree of baldness among the officeholders. If this is so, then the hair Ioss
difference between officeholders and the general public would be less dramatic than our analysis suggests. Another possibility stems from the fact
that elected officeholders come disproportionately from middle class and
upper class backgrounds. If hair Ioss is related to health and dietary factors
that are themselves linked to socioeconomic status, then Norwood's genera[ population norms may not constitute an appropriate benchmark for
high-ranking politicians. While acknowledging this possibility, we should
also indicate that we know of no evidence linking hair Ioss to socioeconomic status. We should also emphasize that, as noted above, Norwood's norms are quite conservative and, if anything, understate the prevalence of hair Ioss in the general public. So any bias introduced by our use
of posed pictures of officeholders or by the inexact social fit between officeholders and the general population should be offset, at least in part, by
the conservatism of Norwood's general population estimates.
On the basis of the data considered in Study 1, we conclude that there
is a bias against bald and ba[ding men in high-level elective office. But at
this point we need to consider what we cannot conclude from Study 1.
For one thing, Study 1 does not estab[ish that high-level elected officials are less likely to be bald or balding than those whom they defeated
for office. Since Study 1 was based on photos of those who had won election to high public office rather than photos of all those who had sought
high public office, we cannot say whether bald or balding candidates find
themselves at an electoral disadvantage when pitted against candidates
who have not experienced significant hair Ioss. On the other hand, many
incumbents had been in office for a Iong time; some--conceivably
many--of those who were bald or balding in 1988 may have had a full
OURNAL OF NONVERBALBEHAVlOR
head of hair when first elected. Of course, we have just seen that not many
officeholders were bald or balding even several years after their initial election, but it is still clear that the simple 1988 snapshot presented in Study 1
fails to incorporate the time dimension.
Not does Study 1 consider other mechanisms that could account for
the observed pattern. The weeding out of bald and balding aspirants for
high office could occur before the candidates get on the ballot. For example, it could be that many potential candidates who do not conform to
conventional norms of attractive, vigorous male appearance perceive poor
prospects for electoral success and thus do not pursue opportunities to run
for office. Or perhaps bald or balding men have a hard time securing a
place on the ballot because it is difficult for them to convince potential
backers or party officials that their candidacy would evoke broad voter
In sum, Study 1 establishes that bald and balding men are disproportionately screened out of high public office in the United States, but leaves
unanswered the question of how this screening process works. Do voters,
faced with a choice between a bald or balding candidate and one with a
full head of hair, tend to favor the latter? That would be the most direct
connection between hair Ioss and electability, and it is the possibility investigated in Study 2.
Study 2 takes up where Study 1 leaves oft, at a consideration of the means
by which bald and balding men come to be underrepresented in high elective office. In an attempt to determine whether such underrepresentation is
attributable to voter bias, Study 2 poses an experimental test of voter responses to congressional candidates with visible hair Ioss.
Participants. The participants in Study 2 were 550 adults in a large
southwestern city who had been summoned to the county courthouse for
jury duty. After being initially processed in a large room and while awaiting assignment to a jury panel, prospective jurors were invited by two
researchers to participate in a research project; access to the jury pool was
granted by court authorities. Those who agreed to participate comprised a
diverse cross-section of the community, as would be expected of a jury
pool. It was not feasible to record refusals to participate, but they were
SIGELMAN, DAWSON, NITZ, WHICKER
rare--certainly less than one in ten. The county draws prospective jurors
from a list of licensed drivers, assuring broad representativeness. The participants' mean age was 43, with a standard deviation of 14 years; 53%
were men, 47% women.
Materials. Each participant received a packet of materials containing a
three-sentence introduction to the project, a campaign brochure, and a
questionnaire. The introduction stated that the study was being conducted
by researchers from the state university who were "interested in the ways
political candidates present themselves to the public." Participants were
asked to take a few minutes familiarizing themselves with the brochure and
then to answer all the questions on the attached questionnaire.
A two-color trifold campaign brochure, printed on heavy stock and
patterned after actual campaign materials, was given to every participant.
The front of the brochure was headlined "JORDAN for Congress," with a 3
x 5 inch black and white head-and-shoulders picture of a formally attired
white male named "Allen Jordan," beneath which were printed the words
ùFighting with Integrity." The inside of the brochure listed Jordan's primary
concerns as quality education, the special needs of the homeless, maintenance of the state's natural resources, and health care for the elderly, and
went on to describe him as committed to developing Iong-term solutions
and enforcing tough penalties for drunk drivers, supporting strong anti-drug
measures, and opposing tax increases. The inside of the brochure also presented endorsements from "Paul Kerns" (billed as an environmentalist,
neighborhood activist, and Iocal businessman) and "Virginia Engel" (ostensibly the head of the state's Center for Public Interest), who were quoted
praising Jordan for his issue stands and leadership skills. Finally, the inside
of the brochure outlined Jordan's personal background and accomplishments, describing him as a father of two children, a graduate of the state
university, a military veteran, a business leader and volunteer, and a member of the state economic development board, the Andover Church Council, the county historical society, the March of Dimes, the state's Academy,
and the Optimists Club, and identifying hirn with "lntegrity, Vision and
Sound American Principles." The back of the brochure urged readers to
ùVote for the Qualified Candidate," indicated that the brochure was sponsored by the "Jordan for Congress Committee," and displayed a pseudobulk mailing permit.
Each participant received a brochure that was identical except for the
picture on the front. Six different white males played the role of Allen
Jordan in these photos. Each of these individuals had experienced substantial hair Ioss; using Norwood's typology, we classified two as Type IIl's,
OURNAL OF NONVERBALBEHAVlOR
Mean Perceptions and Evaluations of Allen Jordan, by Model and Hair
Attractiveness Masculinity Pleasantness Dynamism Vote
one as a Type IV, one as a Type Vl, and two as Type Vll's. The six models
ranged in aged from 26 years to 66 (see Table 1 for a description of the age
and baldness type of each model).
Each model posed for photographs in a Iocal hair studio where he was
then professionally fitted with a hairpiece deemed appropriate for a man of
his age and appearance. With hairpiece in place, each was classifiable as
a Norwood Type I or II, a major departure from his normal appearance.
Each model then posed for a new round of photographs, this time wearing
the hairpiece. The "before" photos were identical to the "after" photos in
size, clothing, and background, and were carefully matched in terms of
facial orientation and expression. Overall, then, twelve different brochures
depicted six models with and without a hairpiece. Each participant was
given a single one of these brochures.
The questionnaire began with a set of 13 bipolar adjective items on a
1-9 scale designed to tap reactions to Allen Jordan's personality and physical appearance: competent-incompetent; weak-strong; friendly-unfriendly;
homely-good-looking; masculine-not masculine; unintelligent-intelligent;
has leadership ability-does not have leadership ability; cold-warm; physically unattractive-physically attractive; bold-timid; not feminine-feminine;
forceful-not forceful; and unkind-kind. These were followed by a request
to "indicate how likely you would be to vote for Allen Jordan if you were
SIGELMAN, DAWSON, NITZ, WHICKER
voting in the election in which he was running" by circling the number
"that best reflects the probability that you would vote for this candidate" on
a scale with ten-point intervals ranging from 5 to 95. Participants were
then asked to estimate Allen Jordan's age and to answer a few demographic questions.
Measures. Responses to certain sets of the bipolar adjective items were
used to create additive scales of Allen Jordan's perceived dynamism, pleasantness, and physical attractiveness. Based on a factor analysis of all these
items, six items (competent-incompetent, weak-strong, unintelligent-intelligent, has leadership ability-does not have leadership ability, bold-timid,
and forceful-not forceful) were used to form the dynamism scale; two items
(cold-warm and unkind-kind) were combined for the pleasantness scale;
and two other items (homely-good-looking and physically unattractivephysically attractive) were combined for the physical attractiveness scale.
The friendly-unfriendly item did not Ioad highly on any dimension, and
was not used as a component of these scales. Nor did the masculine-not
masculine and not feminine-feminine ratings prove to be strongly corre[ated, so the former was used as the measure of perceived masculinity. The
reliability of the three multiple-item scales was deemed acceptable, with
Cronbach's alpha values of .71, .71, and .70, respectively.
Design. The design of the study was a 6 x 2 factorial, with the factors
being the identity of the model and the presence or absence of a hairpiece
camouflaging the model's hair Ioss. The Model factor was considered a
random effect, since interest centered not on the six models themselves but
rather on the broader population of men with various degrees of hair Ioss
they were chosen to represent. The criterion variables were the candidate's
perceived age, physical attractiveness, masculinity, pleasantness, and dynamism, and participants' estimates of the probability that they would vote
for him. Analyses were also conducted with participants' age and sex introduced as covariates; since these had no effect, the more complex analyses
are not reported below.
As would be expected on the basis of the actual ages of the six
models, participants perceived the candidate's age as differing significantly
on the basis of the age of the model they saw (see Table 1). Age estimates
ranged from a mean of 36.1 years for the 31-year-old model (who had the
fullest hair) to a mean of 60.9 for the oldest (who was fully bald). More
OURNAL OF NONVERBAL Bt~HAVlOR
importantly, donning a hairpiece Iowered the perceived age of each model
by at least three years, and Iopped five or six years oft the perceived age of
two models--effects of a similar magnitude to those reported by Cash
(1988a). As a consequence, the Hair factor, like the Model factor, had a
highly significant effect on Allen Jordan's perceived age, F(5, 526) =
161.8, p<.001 for the Model factor, and F(1, 5) = 60.0, io<.001 for the
Hair factor). The effect sizes, signified by the partial eta-squared coefficient, were .606 and .923, respectively. This means, for example, that
controlling for the effect of Model, wearing a hairpiece or not accounted
for more than 90% of the remaining variance in perceptions of Allen Jordan's age. According to Tukey's follow-up test for Honestly Significant Differences, there was a statistically significant difference between the perceived ages of each pair of models except the two oldest (10<.05).
On the physical attractiveness scale, which ran from 2 to 18 with a
mean of 9.2, there were no statistically significant differences based on
either the identity of the six models or their use of a hairpiece. So while the
perceived age of Allen Jordan varied as a function of being bald or balding,
on the one hand, or having a full head of hair, on the other, his perceived
physical attractiveness did not. Nor did his perceived personality traits.
Participants did perceive significant differences in masculinity among the
six models. For Model, F(5, 533) = 3.51, 10<.01, with a partial etasquared of only .032; according to Tukey's follow-up test, the significant
difference stemmed from the unusually Iow masculinity scores assigned to
the 31-year-old model, who was also considered the least attractive of the
six. However, Allen Jordan was considered neither more nor less masculine with a hairpiece than without. On the pleasantness and dynamism
scales no significant differences were associated with either the Model or
the Hair factor, leading us to conclude that the candidate's perceived personality traits did not suffer as a consequence of hair Ioss.
This brings us to the vote results. Across the six Model conditions and
the two Hair conditions, the mean estimated probability of voting for Allen
Jordan was .44, with a standard deviation of .24. On average, then, participants (who were told nothing about the characteristics or quality of Jordan's opposition) pegged the odds that they would vote for Jordan at somewhat below 50-50, but there was considerable variability in their
estimates. However, neither the identity of the model nor the Hair manipulation had any significant effect on voting for Jordan.
In sum, when participants examined a campaign brochure in which
the candidate was shown wearing a hairpiece, they perceived hirn as being
younger than when he was shown in his natural bald or balding state.
However, they did not perceive him as being more attractive, more mas-
SIGELMAN, DAWSON, NITZ, WHICKER
culine, more pleasant, or more dynamic, nor were their estimates of the
probability that they would vote for hirn affected. This lack of significant
effects differs sharply from what Cash (1988a) observed in his study of the
link between hair Ioss and impression formation, perhaps reflecting differences in the stimuli given to participants. For one thing, Cash's participants
responded solely to pictures, with no textual information about the men in
the photographs. For another, Cash did not show pictures of the same men
with and without hair; rather, he showed pictures of one group of bald or
balding men and another group of men with a full head of hair. Uncontrolled differences between the two groups of men could account for the
effects he observed.
How can we account for the absence of any significant link between
hair Ioss and electability in the case of Allen Jordan? We have just seen
that when the campaign brochure showed the candidate with a full head of
hair, "voters" perceived him as significantly younger but not as more physically attractive, more masculine, pleasant, or dynamic. To this we can
add, based on multiple regression analyses not reported hefe, that the primary factors shaping support for Jordan's candidacy were his perceived
pleasantness and dynamism. Thus, the perceptions of Jordan that were affected by hair Ioss--perceptions of his age--had little or no bearing on his
appeal as a candidate, while the qualities that enhanced his popularity
with "voters"--his pleasantness and dynamism--were unaffected by his
hair Ioss. The candidate's hair or lack thereof did influence the way he was
seen by the participants in the experiment, but not in ways that turned out
to be politically consequential. Another set of regression analyses turned
up no significant effects of hair Ioss on a candidate's perceived masculinity, pleasantness, dynamism, or electability when the effects of perceived physical attractiveness were held constant. Accordingly, the lack of
impact of hair Ioss cannot be attributed to the confounding effects of physical attractiveness.
We are left with an intriguing juxtaposition of findings. According to Study
1, considerably fewer bald and balding men have attained high elective
office than would be expected on the basis of their share of the population.
However, Study 2 indicates that even though visible hair Ioss does have
JOURNAL OF NONVERBAL BEHAVlOR
some significant impacts on impressions of political candidates, it does not
significantly at~ct ihe politically pivotal impressions candidates make-impressions of ho~~pleasant and dynamic they are--and it does not influence the overall support they receive. In sum, our experimental findings
suggest that it is not voter bias that accounts for the underrepresentation of
bald and balding men in the tanks of high-level officeholders.
If the bias against bald and balding high public officials does not reflect discrimination on the part of voters, it must stem from other factors. It
could, as we speculated earlier, lie in the self-concepts of potential candidates themselves. To the extent that hair Ioss diminishes one's sense of
attractiveness, self-worth, and personal efficacy (see, e.g., Cash, 1988b),
we would expect bald and balding men to be less aggressive about putting
themselves forward as candidates. And irrespective of whether voters really
are biased against bald or balding candidates, if potential candidates, party
prof~sionals, donors, and others involved in recruiting and nominating
candidates believè- that a receding hairline makes a candidate a less effective vote-getter, then those with visible hair Ioss would presumably have a
harder time winning their party's nomination. The research reported here
does not permit us to determine whether one or the other of these mechanisms, or perhaps both, may be at work. But by demonstrating that voters
do not discriminate against candidates who are bald or balding, it does
suggest that the link between hair Ioss and electability may weil lie in
stereotypes of baldness held by power brokers and/or by bald and balding
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