Damn you, tall people. They block your view at the movie theater. They’re a pain to shop for: Who really wants to drag themselves to the Big & Tall to buy Uncle Lurch a pair of extra-long pants? They’re the ones with better chances of becoming pro basketball players, or supermodels.
Squirts probably don’t need any more reasons to envy their longer-limbed neighbors. Unfortunately, a new study just added to the indignity of short people. According to a paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, both men and women who are above average height — 5 ft. 10 in. for males, 5 ft. 4 in. for females — report higher levels of happiness than smaller people.
In the study, men who call their lives the “worst possible” are nearly an inch shorter than the average man. The women most down in the dumps are half an inch smaller, on average, than the average woman. Taller people say they are more content, and are less likely to report a range of negative emotions like sadness and physical pain. “Happiness is just one more thing that taller people have going for them,” says Angus Deaton, a Princeton economist and co-author of the study, who stands a smug 6 ft. 4 in. (Full disclosure: I, too, am about 6 ft. 4 in., but I will refrain from mocking shrimps in this story.)
Why are tall people happier? According to Deaton’s analysis, the result is linked to education and income. The study found that taller people tend to have more education, and thus higher income levels, than shorter people. It follows that the smarter, richer tall people would be sunnier than their vertically challenged compatriots. “Money buys enjoyment and higher life evaluation,” says Deaton. “It buys off stress, anger, worry and pain. Income is the thing!”
To gain some real-world insight into these stats, I called the first smart short person I could think of, a friend named Milton Lee. Despite what these studies indicate, smart short people do exist. Milt, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, made a killing as a Wall Street trader in the 1990s, but quit finance to chase his dream of becoming a basketball coach. He has trained many NBA players, including this year’s top draft pick, Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin, and even landed an assistant coaching gig for the Los Angeles Clippers’ summer-league team.
Despite giving up an healthy Wall Street income, Lee, who claims he’s 5 ft. 9 in. but admits to being 5 ft. 8 in. when pressed, considers himself content. “I’m not totally buying it,” he says of the study. “I’m below average height, and have above-average happiness.” In his basketball work, Lee spends a lot of time around well-compensated human trees, and doesn’t always see smiling faces. “There are plenty of NBA players who are absolutely miserable,” Lee says. “They want more playing time, they feel underappreciated. Only a dozen or so guys feel that they are truly loved.”
In his Wall Street days, Lee saw plenty of rich, happy short people and wealthy, depressed tall people. He does offer one reason why taller men might be happier. “Whenever I’m out with tall guys, they tend to get more attention from women,” says Lee. “You never hear girls say, ‘Hey, I’m really into short guys.'”
Lee directed me to one of the players he coaches, Coleman Collins, for the smart, tall guy’s perspective. When I told him Lee questioned the findings, Collins, who is 6 ft. 9 in., wasn’t surprised. “Short people are always ready to disagree,” says Collins, who graduated from Virginia Tech when he was 19, after just three years, and played for the school’s basketball team. He points out that he has many short friends. “Generally speaking, I’ve found that they are more likely to have a chip on their shoulder, more likely to have something to prove,” Collins says.
Collins, now 23, supports the study’s results. “I’m generally in a good mood,” he says. “And based on the anecdotal evidence I’ve seen, tall people have a more pleasant disposition and are more easygoing. They don’t have to make an extra effort to command attention. When they walk into a room, it tends to come naturally to them.” Such recognition surely helps your self-esteem. If only it wasn’t too late for you short people to have a growth spurt.
A look at the hard truths about human nature.
by Satoshi Kanazawa
Why are taller people more intelligent than shorter people?
Why are taller people more intelligent than shorter people?
Published on January 25, 2009 by Satoshi Kanazawa in The Scientific Fundamentalist
In my previous post, I explain that men on average are slightly but significantly more intelligent than women, not because they are men, but because they are taller. But why are taller people more intelligent than shorter people?The real answer is we don’t know for sure, but there are two possible explanations. First, both height and intelligence may be indicators of underlying health. According to this view, people who are genetically and developmentally healthier simultaneously grow taller and become more intelligent than those who are less healthy, producing the positive correlation between height and intelligence.
This is a plausible theory. In our paper, however, Reyniers and I produce evidence against it. In the analysis of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we control for the respondent’s health, by using four indicators of health and producing a latent variable for health using principal component analysis in order to eliminate random measurement error. The association between height and intelligence does not diminish at all when we control for health. In fact, once we control for other demographic and social variables, health is not significantly correlated with intelligence at all; it actually has a nonsignificantly negativeassociation with intelligence. So, at least in our sample, health is unlikely to be the common cause for both height and intelligence.
In our paper, Reyniers and I propose a second possible explanation. It consists of three separate mechanisms.
1. Assortative mating of tall men and beautiful women. Because height is desirable in men and physical attractiveness is desirable in women, there should be assortative mating between tall men and beautiful women (and short men and less beautiful women). Because both height and physical attractiveness are heritable, this will create an extrinsic (non-causal) correlation among their children between height and physical attractiveness, where tall people (both men and women) are more beautiful than short people.
2. Assortative mating of intelligent men and beautiful women. Because intelligent men tend to attain higher status, at least in the evolutionarily novel environment in recent history, and high status is desirable in men, and because physical attractiveness is desirable in women, there should be assortative mating between intelligent (and thus high-status) men and beautiful women. Because both intelligence and physical attractiveness are heritable, this will create an extrinsic (non-causal) correlation among their children between intelligence and physical attractiveness, where more attractive people are more intelligent than less attractive people.
3. Extrinsic correlation between height and physical attractiveness (produced by Mechanism 1 above) and extrinsic correlation between intelligence and physical attractiveness (produced by Mechanism 2 above) will create a second-order extrinsic correlation between height and intelligence.
We believe that this may be why taller people are more intelligent than shorter people. Another factor contributing to the seeming male advantage in intelligence is that taller parents are more likely to have sons than shorter parents. So, over many generations, more sons will inherit their parents’ genes inclining them to be taller and more intelligent, and more daughters will inherit their parents’ genes inclining them to be shorter and less intelligent. But, once again, the crucial factor is height, not sex.
In our paper, we present evidence for all of the crucial mechanisms: Taller people are on average physically more attractive than shorter people; physically more attractive people are on average more intelligent than physically less attractive people; taller people are on average more intelligent than shorter people; and taller parents are more likely to have sons than shorter parents. But the issue is far from resolved. While there is no doubt that taller people are indeed more intelligent than shorter people, the question of why this is so is one of the remaining puzzles in evolutionary psychology.
From the website for news for the Men’s Health Magazine HERE…
Why Tall Men Win
by Chris Garcia October 25, 2011, 09:00 am EDT
It’s OK, man—Tom Cruise is short, too, and he’s a millionaire.
Napoleon was right to have a complex: We like our leaders tall. People prefer bosses and political leaders to be physically imposing, which is one reason why tall people push for leadership positions more often than their shorter counterparts, according to a pair of studies in Social Science Quarterly.
The two studies interviewed 467 college students about leadership abilities and asked them to draw an ideal leader next to an average citizen. Sixty-four percent of the students drew the leader as taller than the citizen. The second study quizzed students about their effectiveness as leaders and asked if they would ever seek out a leadership position. As height of the male respondent increased, so did his confidence in his leadership abilities.
“People tend to ally themselves in groups with certain taller individuals,” said study co-author Prof. Gregg R. Murray, professor of political science at Texas Tech University. “The taller individual then tends to dominate the group, which builds the taller person’s confidence further down the road.”
So what does that mean for the rest of us? The key is to mimic the confidence of tall people. Here’s how:
Keep the tone of your voice steady. Murray advises watching a Larry King interview with a famous celebrity or politician. King often manipulated the tone of his voice to match that of his powerful subjects. The key is to keep your tone constant. Lowering it conveys embarrassment and meekness.
Stay on top of your workout. Evolutionary theory suggests that tall people earn our trust because their physical dominance makes us feel protected, Murray says. If you don’t have the natural height advantage, you can still convey the illusion of height by making a simple adjustment to your posture. Follow these tips on how to carry your body.
Don’t underdress. Appearance is everything. One way to gain the benefit of physical dominance is to look like you matter, says Murray. Easier said than done? Get the Men’s Health Color Advantage and gravitate toward the shoes, pants and shirts that will help you naturally exude confidence.
Trust your abilities. “What our study really shows,” Murray says, “is that people who feel qualified are more likely to put themselves out there and take a risk.” It sounds like a no-brainer, but knowing you’re qualified and performing like it are two very different things. Just follow the lead of the World’s Richest and Fittest Guys. They’ll teach you that taking a big risk can lead to huge dividends—regardless of height.
From Malcolm Gladwell’s own blog HERE….
This excerpt is from the part of “Blink” where I talk about the things that throw off our powers of rapid cognition. I’ve just been talking about a test–called the IAT–which measures your level of “unconscious prejudice.” That’s the kind of prejudice that you have that you aren’t aware of, that affects the kinds of impressions and conclusions that you reach automatically, without thinking.
Or what if the person you are interviewing is tall? On a conscious level, I’m sure that all of us don’t think that we treat tall people any differently from short people. But there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that height–particularly in men–does trigger a certain set of very positive, unconscious associations. I polled about half of the companies on the Fortune 500 list–the largest corporations in the United States–asking each company questions about its CEO. The heads of big companies are, as I’m sure comes as no surprise to anyone, overwhelmingly white men, which undoubtedly reflects some kind of implicit bias. But they are also virtually all tall: In my sample, I found that on average CEOs were just a shade under six feet. Given that the average American male is 5’9″ that means that CEOs, as a group, have about three inches on the rest of their sex. But this statistic actually understates matters. In the U.S. population, about 14.5 percent of all men are six feet or over. Among CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, that number is 58 percent. Even more strikingly, in the general American population, 3.9 percent of adult men are 6’2″ or taller. Among my CEO sample, 30 percent were 6’2″ or taller. The lack of women or minorities among the top executive ranks at least has a plausible explanation. For years, for a number of reasons having to do with discrimination and cultural patterns, there simply weren’t a lot of women and minorities entering the management ranks of American corporations. So today, when boards of directors look for people with the necessary experience to be candidates for top positions, they can argue somewhat plausibly that there aren’t a lot of women and minorities in the executive pipeline. But this is simply not true of short people. It is possible to staff a company entirely with white males, but it is not possible to staff a company without short people: there simply aren’t enough tall people to go around. Yet none of those short people ever seem to make it into the executive suite. Of the tens of millions of American men below 5’6″, a grand total of ten–in my sample–have reached the level of CEO, which says that being short is probably as much, or more, of a handicap to corporate success as being a woman or an African-American. (The grand exception to all of these trends is American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault, who is both on the short side (5’9″) and black. He must be a remarkable man to have overcome two Warren Harding Errors.)
Is this a deliberate prejudice? Of course not. No one ever says, dismissively, of a potential CEO candidate that ‘he’s too short.’ This is quite clearly the kind of unconscious prejudice that the IAT picks up. Most of us, in ways that we are not entirely aware of, automatically associate leadership ability with imposing physical stature. We have a sense, in our minds, of what a leader is supposed to look like, and that stereotype is so powerful that when someone fits it, we simply become blind to other considerations. And this isn’t confined to the corporate suite. Not long ago, researchers went back and analyzed the data from four large research studies, that had followed thousands of people from birth to adulthood, and calculated that when corrected for variables like age and gender and weight, an inch of height is worth $789 a year in salary. That means that a person who is six feet tall, but who is otherwise identical to someone who is five foot five, will make on average $5,525 more per year. As Timothy Judge, one of the authors of the study, points out: “If you take this over the course of a 30-year career and compound it, we’re talking about a tall person enjoying literally hundreds of thousands of dollars of earnings advantage.” Have you ever wondered why so many mediocrities find their way into positions of authority in companies and organizations? It’s because when it comes to even the most important positions, we think that our selection decisions are a good deal more rational than they actually are. We see a tall person, and we swoon.
From CBS NEWS HERE…
By LLOYD DE VRIES /
CBS/ February 11, 2009, 8:06 PM
The Trouble With Tall People
Tall people have a special status in our culture. Often without good reason, they are thought of as leaders — as “standing tall above the rest.” In school, the tallest boys are the first to get dates. Tall girls are told they look great — “like beautiful models.” Short people with big egos are often said to have a “Napoleon Complex,” but nobody ever talks about tall, egotistical people as having a “de Gaulle Complex.” The average height in this country is 5 feet 9 inches for men, and about 5 feet 4 for women. Anybody below that comes up short.
I’m not proud to admit that I haven’t lost a lot of sleep over the fact that a former jockey will probably never be President of the United States. In my entire career, I don’t think I’ve ever been financially discriminated against because of my height. Then again, a comedy writer who is 5-feet-7 is considered on the tall side.
However, my attitude towards heightism changed recently when I read a University of North Carolina study. My consciousness, if not my height, has been raised. It turns out that short people are discriminated against in a way I never knew about — financially.
Statistically speaking, the taller you are, the more money you make. Each inch is worth about $789 more per year. Someone who is six feet tall is expected to earn $5523 more per year than someone who is 5-feet-five. Taken over a 30-year career, the smaller person’s height makes him come up hundreds of thousands of dollars short. Tall people get better job evaluations and quicker raises. So, short people don’t just have to put up with the good stuff always being on the top shelf or tall people sitting in front of them at the movies. A tall person’s earning power is head-and-shoulders above his shorter counterpart. And that is wrong.
Our reverence for height comes from primitive times. Back when we lived in caves, size was a more important survival trait than now. It made evolutionary sense. When a guy was coming at you with a spear, he was probably not going to be impressed by your command of the new tax laws or your ability to tell a really funny joke.
About 50 years ago, something strange happened — Americans stopped growing taller. In World War I, the average American soldier was two inches taller than the average German. Since around 1955, Germans and most people around the world have been growing taller, but we’ve stayed the same.
Is this another evolutionary development? Is America genetically ahead of the rest of the world in realizing that judging people by height is silly in this day and age? Will favoring tall people soon be a thing of the past? Is the height gene being phased out like the appendix or the ability to fricassee a lemur? Is American society finally evolving so that it will soon value things like intelligence, kindness, and sensitivity more than an ability to look good in designer clothes?
Don’t bet on it. Experts believe our failure to continue to grow taller has more to do with diet and exercise than with developing more humanistic attitudes. We’re growing wider, not taller. Meanwhile other countries are catching up to our height because they have been eating well. Maybe this development will have a positive effect. Maybe height will become less and less important to us as we stop towering over the rest of the world.
But I doubt it. I don’t think American pride will allow it. Height worship is too ingrained in our culture. Right now, the average height of men in the Netherlands is six-feet-one-inch. The Dutch are four inches taller than we are. The Dutch! Are our leaders really going to sit still and do nothing as the people of the world keep sprouting up and looking down on us? Can’t you just hear future politicians talking about closing the “height gap?”
There is bound to be some mistrust and suspicion if Americans continue to come up short internationally. Our proud leaders might even accuse other countries of employing the Ultimate Weapon in the Longitudinal War — using extra-high heels or putting lifts in their shoes. That’s right. Unless we get over our height hang-up, a vertically challenged president of the future might very well call for inspection teams to look for “Shoes of Mass Elevation.”
Lloyd Garver has written for many television shows, ranging from “Sesame Street” to “Family Ties” to “Frasier.” He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover.
By Lloyd Garver Copyright 2009 CBS. All rights reserved.
Page last updated at 10:35 GMT, Thursday, 10 September 2009 11:35 UK
Tall people lead ‘better lives’
|Taller people live better lives, according to US researchers.
More than 454,000 adults aged 18 and over were asked by phone for their height and evaluate their lives.
Overall, taller individuals judged their lives more favourably and were more likely to report positive emotions such as enjoyment and happiness.
Reporting to the journal Economics and Human Biology, they conclude that this is because the taller people also had higher incomes and education.
The researchers used the Cantril “self-measuring striving scale” which asks you to imagine a ladder with rungs numbered from zero at the bottom to 10 at the top.
The 10th rung represents the “best possible life for you” and the bottom is the “worst possible life for you”.
Participants were asked to report on which rung of the ladder they thought they stood on at the present time.
Men who were above average height 5ft 10in (177.8cm) reported that they were standing higher on the ladder than men who were below average height.
They had an average ladder score of 6.55 compared to the shorter men who scored 6.41.
Women scored higher overall than men on the ladder scale and there was less difference between the taller and shorter women.
Taller women above the average height of 5ft 4in ( 162.6cm) scored 6.64 compared to a score of 6.55 for the shorter women.
But one of the lead researchers, Angus Deaton from Princeton University, said: “Surprisingly people who say that their lives are the ‘best possible’ are slightly shorter on average than those who are a step or two below.
“Perhaps the 8% of people who think their lives cannot be improved are different in other respects.”
The study also looked at people’s emotions.
Taller men and women were more likely to report enjoyment and happiness, and less likely to report pain and sadness.
Taller men, although not taller women, also worry less.
But sadness and anger were more likely to be experienced.
The authors say their findings cannot be attributed to different demographics or ethnicity, but are almost entirely explained by the positive association between height and both income and education, both of which are positively linked to better lives.
Chartered psychologist Dr Colin Gill said: “There’s no direct correlation between income and happiness – surveys going back years show that.
“But there does appear to be a correlation between height and happiness and height and income.
“If you look at this study, the people who are happiest are not the very tallest.
“There is a threshold of height tolerance – at about 6ft 5in (195.6cm) to 6ft 6in (198.1cm).
“It is about as tall as people think is normal, beyond that you are odd and life becomes very difficult.
“Height does matter, it’s always mattered for a very obvious reason – when you are born you are shorter than the people who look after you and have authority over you.
“And that power relationship never reverses.”