Scientists say Short Man Syndrome really exists. In new tests, people who were “shrunk” became paranoid, distrustful and scared of others.
Using virtual reality to reduce volunteers’ heights, Oxford University researchers found they were more likely to think other people were staring at them or talking about them on a computer-generated train. Professor Daniel Freeman said, “We know people behave in VR as they do in real life.” But what else does your height say about you? Today we check the evidence.
Studies show that shorter people live longer. Recent research analysing the lives of 500 males born between 1866-1915 on the Italian island of Sardinia showed those below 5ft 4in lived an average two years longer than taller men. The study suggested the reasons included lower DNAdamage, greater cell replacement potential and greater efficiency of heart-pumping. Other studies show shorter women live longer too.
Taller people are likely to be more intelligent, according to several studies. Research in 2006 at Princeton University found “as early as three… taller children perform significantly better in cognitive tests”. Last year a team at the University of Colorado found that the link between height and intelligence was down to breeding. They showed that clever people are likely to choose taller people as partners — and vice versa.
Researchers at the University of Sydney compared the wage packets of 20,000 people using indicators including weight and height, and found increased height translated into more cash on average.
Shorter women are less ambitious, say academics at St Andrews and Stirling universities. They found they are more likely to start a family than focus on their career. Clinical psychologist Dr Miriam Law Smith said: “Men across are taller than women and height must therefore be an indicator of greater physical masculinity. The physiology of the body controls the psychology of the mind.”
Better life partners
Tall men earn more, are brighter and have more kids — but shorter blokes make better husbands. A study asked women to pick their ideal height difference for both short and long-term relationships from couple photos. The findings, published in Biological Psychology, found tall men were twice as popular for flings than for long-term relationships. Psychologist Dr Nick Neave said, “The real leaders of the pack tend to not be very nice people. You don’t want them around kids and they can be violent and leave you for someone else.”