Inquiring minds want to know: Will a handgun make a man look taller? I can tell you, the answer is YES! In an actual scientific study, it has been concluded that a handgun does make a man look taller, more muscular, and overall larger in body size. (Like any of us needed one more reason to go get a gun!)
In one part of the study, participants (panel A) rated the height and size of men holding a 45 caliber handgun, a drill, a small handsaw, and a caulking gun. Another group of participants (panel B) rated the height, size, and muscularity of men holding a .357 caliber handgun, a drill, a large handsaw, and a caulking gun. A third group of participants (panel C) rated the height, size, and muscularity of men holding a kitchen knife, a paintbrush, and a toy squirt gun. In this study, the photographs presented to participants in color, were resized so that the objective dimensions of each hand displayed on the participant’s computer screen remained constant across all images.
The results did show that the men holding the handgun were estimated to be taller than the men holding the drill, the small handsaw, and the caulking gun. There could be deeper psychology at work here. When a man is taller in our society, they are perceived to be more successful, and generally have an easier time ascending up the career ladder. Does this type of bias have anything to do with this study? Looking at people holding all these items, would the power of the gun verses the power of a home improvement tool lead you toward thinking the one with the gun was taller, because in a fight they would likely be victorious?
Knowing that an individual possesses a potentially lethal object, be it a handgun or a kitchen knife, led the U.S. participants to generally conceptualize the target individual as taller and larger in overall body size and muscularity.
Ok, the next question is for the ladies: Do you think that high heels AND a hand gun will make a lady look taller? (I can tell you the answer to THIS question is yes! We do not need a study on that one.)
This study was conducted by Daniel M. T. Fessler, Colin Holbrook, and Jeffrey K. Snyder for the Department of Anthropology and Center for Behavior, Evolution, and Culture, University of California in Los Angeles, CA see the entire report and their findings here.