Science

According To Research, Shorter Height Can Lead To Paranoid Thoughts

Let's start this article with a question.

Have you ever lied about your height?

It's certainly not an uncommon thing to do. Your overall size compared to other people and your surroundings is an important factor in how you see yourself and the world around you. And let's face it, being tall has its social advantages. But what does the science have to say about height and its more subtle impacts?

According to research conducted in 2014, an individual's height may directly impact feelings of security and paranoia. Researches Daniel Freeman, Nicole Evans, Rachel Lister, Angus Antley, Mel Slater, and Graham Dunn asked volunteers to participate in a virtual reality study in which they took a virtual journey through public transit at their normal height. The participants relayed their overall feelings.

The second time, they took the same public transit route, but the virtual reality simulator made them approximately one head shorter than their normal height. Although riding on a subway is hardly a complicated task, the participants related significantly different feelings when their height was altered to make them shorter.

The participants reported feeling more anxious, weak, inferior, and incompetent once their stature was lowered. But the participants weren't told that their height had been lowered and they actually didn't immediately notice feeling smaller than before. One participant felt that other virtual passengers were being hostile toward them when they were shorter, but not taller, even though the virtual passenger did not behave any differently.

The purpose of this study isn't to point to short people and accuse them of being paranoid and jumpy, but to rather study how we combat paranoia. The researchers believe that paranoia may be stemmed in self image and feelings of being inferior and small.

"From this it follows that by helping someone to feel more positively about themselves we may be able to reduce their susceptibility to paranoid thoughts," Daniel and Jason Freeman wrote in an article published in The Guardian.

"Virtual reality could be an asset here: if simulating a decrease in height lowers self-esteem, then the opposite may be true too. By allowing people with problematic paranoia to feel taller in VR social situations, we may be able to boost their confidence in the real world."

Editor's note:

Previously, we ran this article with some stretched and false information. It was titled "New research says short people are angrier and more violent than tall people." To begin with, the study wasn't new. It's a 5 year old piece of research. Calling it new research was not exactly truthful.

In addition to that, we confused the results of this study with another one and suggested that shorter people were more violent and angry by nature. Neither study concluded this fact, and we were wrong to report it this way. We misunderstood the text of the studies and reported the information in an incorrect way and apologize for doing so.

So in summary, the previous text was made up of: two old pieces of research, one not about height, and one not about violence.

We want to thank Maarten Schenk from Leadstories for pointing out our mistake. We would not have been able to make this well-needed change without his thorough review.

We also want to apologize to everyone who felt insulted by our previous article and we want to assure you we did not intend to do that. Even more, our editor is a relatively short person and he is the loveliest guy you could work or hang out with.

Thank you to all our incredible supporters who continue to read and enjoy the trusted content we create here on Higher Perspectives.

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