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Beard Research Review

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research, now in all-pdf form. Get a subscription now for only $25 a year!

(Image credit: David Prasad)

A quick comb through the literature
compiled by Bertha Vanatian, Improbable Research staff

Perceptions of Bearded Men
“Perception of Men’s Personal Qualities and Prospect of Employment As a Function of Facial Hair,” Altay Alves Lino de Souza, Vera B.U. Baiao, and Emma Otta, Psychological Reports, vol. 92, no. 1, February 2003, pp. 201–8. (Thanks to John Bell for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at University of São Paulo, Brazil, explain:

Participants evaluated photographs of one of four versions of a man—clean shaven, mustached, goateed, or bearded—on a 7-point scale. In Study 1, participants were 106 Brazilian under-graduates (68 men and 38 women). Beardedness was associated with older age, greater responsibility, and leftist political ideas. In Study 2, respondents were 50 Brazilian personnel managers (28 men and 22 women) who made hiring decisions at different companies in the city of Sao Paulo. Personnel managers clearly preferred clean shaven over bearded, mustached, or goateed men as prospective employees.

(Image credit: Flickr user Michael Geminder)

Test of a Hairy Theory
“Beards, Baldness, and Sweat Secretion,” Michel Cabanac and H. Brinnel, European Journal of
Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology, vol. 58, nos. 1–2, 1988, pp. 39–46. The authors, who are at Université Laval, Quebec, Canada, explain that:

In 100 clean-shaven men direct measurement of the area of glabrous [in plain language: bald] skin on the forehead and calvaria was found to be proportional to that of the hairy skin on the lips, cheeks, chin and neck.... [Our] results support the hypothesis that male baldness is a thermoregulatory compensation for the growth of a beard in adults.

Beard Sampling 1
“Standard-Free Method for Beard Samples of Very Small Quantity,” K. Sera, J. Itoh, Y. Saitoh, and S. Futatsugawa, International Journal of PIXE, vol. 16, nos. 3–4, 2006, pp. 157–68. (Thanks to Tom Gill for bringing this and the next item to our attention.)

Beard Sampling 2
“Studies of Daily Changes of Elemental Concentration in Beard Samples by Means of the Standard-Free Method,” K. Sera, T. Sasaki, J. Itoh, and Y. Saitoh, International Journal of PIXE, vol. 16, nos. 3–4, 2006, pp. 169–82.


This article is republished with permission from the January-February 2010 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. You can download or purchase back issues of the magazine, or subscribe to receive future issues. Or get a subscription for someone as a gift! Visit their website for more research that makes people LAUGH and then THINK.

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