Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and Matt Hancock are perhaps not your go-to answers when thinking of famous body builders.
But you may be surprised to know that conservative men are perceived as physically stronger than liberals, according to scientists.
The University of Arkansas-led research carried out four experiments to investigate the link between political orientation and chiselled physiques.
As it turns out, men with greater upper body strength were seen as more right-wing, which experts link to their heightened competitiveness.
‘There’s always a possibility that politicians lean into these stereotypes when making their decisions, but I don’t necessarily have any data to support those claims,’ Dr Mitch Brown, an evolutionary psychologist and lead author, told MailOnline.
Boris Johnson pumps iron in 2020 at The Gym in his South Ruislip constituency
‘That said, physically strong men are indeed more likely to espouse conservative viewpoints (or at least what we have deemed to be conservative with our modern folk language).
‘Think of political ideology as a means toward self-interest.’
As part of the research, experts recruited 203 students, including 153 women, 49 men and one ‘undisclosed’ person.
These participants were asked to guess the political opinions of eight men while also ranking their strength.
Scientists also used scenario questions to gauge this, asking participants to select the men who were more likely to oppose higher taxes, abortion or immigration for example.
The results revealed that conservative men were perceived as stronger overall, perhaps due to the innate competitiveness of right-wing politics.
However, weak men were perceived as being neither conservative or liberal, raising uncertainty over these patterns.
‘Strong men have considerable bargaining power that would have historically led to win contests for resources more easily,’ Dr Brown continued.
‘When they gained access to resources, they would have ascended hierarchies and thus codified social norms of competition in which they had a competitive edge.
Scientists claim that more right-leaning figures, such as Donald Trump and Matt Hancock, are perceived as physically strongest
Pictured: Two of the sample bodies provided by the study with the left marked as ‘strong’ and the other labeled ‘weak’
Participants were asked to assess whether these bodies were also ‘strong’ or ‘weak’ on a scale from one to seven
‘Physically weaker people did not have that power and would conversely favor group norms that are less competition-focused.’
Despite this, some clinical psychologists – including Dr Gurpreet Kaur and Dr Louise Goddard-Crawley – have doubts over the validity of these claims.
‘While political beliefs are shaped by a complex interplay of personal experiences, values, and socio-cultural factors, it’s crucial to recognise that these are only associations and do not imply causation,’ Dr Kaur said.
‘People of various political orientations can possess varying degrees of physical strength, and it’s not a reliable indicator of their political beliefs.’
Dr Goddard-Crawley added: ‘Human behaviour is incredibly complex and influenced by a wide range of factors, including genetics, upbringing, personal experiences and more.
‘Attempting to explain political orientation solely based on physical strength oversimplifies the issue.
‘Perceptions of physical strength can be subjective and influenced by cultural or personal biases. What one person considers “strong” or “weak” can vary widely.’
The authors acknowledge this as a limitation, writing: ‘Our findings merely indicate the presence of a stereotype for formidable men but not whether demonstrating formidability is a veridical cue to ideology.’
But Dr Brown also told MailOnline: ‘Correlation doesn’t imply causation, yes, but this particular study is not about a correlation.
‘This is ultimately a study to see if there is a lay heuristic of strong men as conservative (i.e., a stereotype). It could be that these stereotypes reflect a kernel of truth.
‘Future research should assess the previously identified association between strength and conservatism while seeing if perceivers can accurately track people’s ideology through this morphology.’
READ MORE: Attractive people are more likely to be conservatives because they have it ‘too easy’: Scientists claim they are ‘blind’ to life’s struggles
Scientists know that being attractive influences huge areas in a person’s life, including how much they earn and what they enjoy doing in their spare time.
Now a new study claims that beauty can make a person right-wing.
The research argues that people who are attractive are more likely to be conservative because they are ‘blind’ to the struggles of those who are less fortunate.
The study was conducted by Dr Rolfe Daus Peterson, a political scholar from Susquehanna University and Dr Carl Palmar, assistant professor in politics at Illinois State University.
The researchers claim that there is ‘good reason to believe that individuals’ physical attractiveness may alter their political values and world views’.
Now, a new study claims that beauty can make a person right-wing (Pictured: Donald Trump)