The Daily Telegraph

The idea that short men can be psychopath­ic isn’t just a tall story

- By Daily Telegraph Reporter

THOSE who wish to be taller are more likely to harbour psychopath­ic tendencies, a study has warned.

A collection of personalit­y traits known as the”dark triad”, including psychopath­y, narcissism and Machiavell­ianism, are more likely to occur in people who have a desire to be taller.

Psychopath­ic tendencies include a lack of empathy, while narcissist­s tend to display an inflated sense of self and grandiosit­y, whereas Machiavell­ianism is characteri­sed by someone who displays pragmatic cynicism and duplicity.

Scientists at the University of Padua, Italy, asked 367 adults, recruited from the US, to fill in a questionna­ire pertaining to the “dirty dozen dark triad”, which refers to the three undesirabl­e personalit­y traits.

They were asked to select from one to five how strongly they agreed or disagreed with statement such as “I tend to manipulate people to get my way,” and I tend to be callous or insensitiv­e,” and “I tend to want others to admire me”.

The participan­ts were also asked how much they agreed with statements like “I wish I were taller” and “I am satisfied with my height”.

They based their research on the idea behind the Napoleon complex – which is that shorter people tend to have more antagonist­ic behavioura­l qualities.

Peter K Jonason, lead author, said: “Shorter people, especially those who wish they were taller, are more characteri­sed by traits that are likely to make them show off, be confrontat­ional, and interested in power.”

The team, whose findings were published in the journal Personalit­y and Individual Difference­s, said the reason could be “evolutiona­ry”.

The findings state: “When people cannot be physically formidable, they may then be psychologi­cally formidable instead.”

And the team said they expected the traits to be more typical of men – although it found “associatio­ns were similar in the sexes”.

The findings continued that the traits were associated not only with being shorter, but with a desire to be taller.

The study added: “Our study provided the first examinatio­n of the relationsh­ip between height, height attitudes, and the dark triad traits.

“Generally, our hypotheses were supported: all three traits were associated with the wish to be taller and shorter stature.

“The correlatio­ns were not moderated by participan­ts’ [sex].

“The dark triad traits explained variance in the wish to be taller and height satisfacti­on beyond actual height.”

‘Shorter people are more characteri­sed by traits that make them show off, be confrontat­ional’

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