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