Weapons make men look bigger, stronger and much more manly
Anthropologists from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) recruited hundreds of men to guess the size and muscularity of four men based on photographs of their hands holding different objects.
In one round, the participants looked at photographs of the hands holding a caulking gun, electric drill, large saw and a handgun.
Those holding the handgun were judged to be 17% taller and stronger than those judged to be the weakest men, the ones holding the caulking gun.
To ensure that the results were not influenced by well-known images of tough looking men with guns, researchers ran the test with photos of the models holding other objects: a kitchen knife, a paint brush and a toy squirt gun.
The men holding the kitchen knife were perceived to be the biggest and strongest.
The study explored what people think about the relative likelihood that they will win a conflict, the researchers said.