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Can Physical Traits Signify Talent?

Two studies released today suggest that physical characteristics might signify how well one is suited for leadership.

One study concluded that obese people have 8 percent less brain tissue than "normal-weight individuals." The brain areas weakened might affect one's leadership abilities, since they include those critical for planning and memory, attention and executive functions.

Another study suggests that women with higher testosterone levels take more risks. And those that take more risks likely make bolder, long-term career choices. This seems consistent with another study from earlier this year which found that traders in the United Kingdom with higher testosterone levels made six times more money than their colleagues due to their willingness to take risks. You can see whether someone has higher prenatal testosterone levels by checking their index-to-ring-finger ratio.

Of course, the scientists involved with both these studies advise against making broad career-related conclusions based solely on these findings. In all cases, there may be another unknown factor which causes one to take risks and act like an executive. And not all job functions require one to take risks or make executive decisions anyways.

But it is worth asking whether organizations might start screening leaders based on physical traits such as weight or index-to-ring-finger ratios. Scientists are continuing to examine the connections between testosterone levels and the professions. Do these studies represent benign scientific breakthroughs or a mad march towards eugenics? Share your thoughts below.