May 24, 2024

The Big-Head Principle

Over the next few days, Americans will be asking themselves which candidate has what it takes to be president, or at least which one has what it takes to win the election. To answer this question, we must first determine exactly what it does take. Based on personal observation, I think I may know.

Bill Clinton is the only U.S. president I have seen up close. He walked about ten feet from me in the Princeton graduation procession a few years ago. And I couldn’t help noticing that he had a really big head. When I say this, I don’t mean he was very smart, and I don’t mean he had an inflated opinion of himself – though both of those things may well be true. I mean, quite literally, that his head was considerably larger than average for a man of his size. So much so that his head size is the one and only thing I remember about my near-encounter with him. Perhaps having a large head helps one to succeed in politics.

If you think about it, we are often drawn to big-headed creatures. Mickey Mouse. Frankenstein’s monster. Barney the dinosaur. Bart Simpson. Mister Potato Head. Spongebob Squarepants. What is it about big-heads that makes us want to watch them?

Perhaps the explanation is that babies have disproportionately large heads, and we are genetically programmed to like babies. Or perhaps large heads can better show sympathetic emotion.

In any case, head size is clearly an important factor in politics, a factor we can use to divine a hidden law of American politics – the candidate with the bigger head usually wins. Call it the Big-Head Principle.

Which candidate has the bigger head in this election? Video coverage shows the candidates shaking hands after the debates. Looking at the two men side by side, in the same shot, it’s clear that John Kerry has the bigger head.

Being nonpartisan, we will not endorse a candidate; but we can make a prediction. According to the Big-Head Principle, John Kerry will be the next president of the United States.


  1. aNonMooseCowherd says

    Will this discovery spur the development of Head Growth Hormone?

  2. Well, you know what they say….”big head, big election.” Or something like that.

  3. But, this contrasts with the rule that a fathead loses (hopefully)!

  4. Man.. That ruled. 🙂 thanks for the laugh

  5. Looks like Conan O’Brien in 2020 then: “Vote Conan — he’s really tall and has an enormous head!”

  6. Of course the taller man wins — he probably has the larger head.

  7. Stephen Cochran says

    Actually, most of my family has been telling me for years that “The taller man wins” (

  8. There is a great article by Stephen Jay Gould explaining this phenomenon, using Mickey Mouse as an illustration.

  9. The big-head principle

    Over at Freedom To Tinker, Edward Felten has has a theory regarding the size of the heads of US presidential candidates that I quite like. Does having a large head help you succeed in politics?