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The Mind Makes Gunmen Look Larger

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The Mind Makes Gunmen Look Larger

With gun in hand, a man of any size appears bigger, an altered notion that probably occurs at a subconscious level, a new study suggests.

The research, funded by the U.S. Air Force, reveals a seemingly simple mechanism that was even in the brains of Neanderthals, and possibly common even to chimpanzees, to measure whether they would win or lose a fight with an aggressor.

“There’s nothing about the knowledge that gunpowder makes lead bullets fly through the air at damage-causing speeds that should make you think that a gun-bearer is bigger or stronger, yet you do,” lead study author Daniel Fessler, an associate professor of anthropology at UCLA, said in a statement. “Danger really does loom large — in our minds.”

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