Some people might think that the mightier the man, the more aggressive they might be – but science suggests otherwise.
Ian Fleming, the late famous English author (James Bond!) and naval intelligence officer, once said that short men “caused all the trouble in the world.” Was he on to something? According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, the findings say that Mr. Fleming might be onto something – but maybe not about height, but “manliness,” or the lack thereof.
The study done by the CDC claims that stress tends to arise in men who believe they are “unmanly.” Is this actually true? Let’s take a look at how the CDC conducted their study and what it is that they found.
Scientists at the CDC in Atlanta observed 600 men ranging in age from 18 to 50.
They found that men who felt “less masculine” as compared to their peers were likely to suffer from “male discrepancy stress.” Here’s what the study stated:
That is, when a man perceives himself to be hypomasculine relative to prevailing societal standards (ie, gender role discrepancy) and believes that others perceive him to be hypomasculine as well, stress may arise from the perceived discrepancy between the individual’s subjective level of masculinity and his perception of predominant social mandates (ie, discrepancy stress).
However, it is important to note that the study surveyed participants using an online service, so it’s not 100% certain that all participants were men.
Some believe that men of a shorter stature might act more aggressively to make up for their lack of height, which can be attributed to manliness at times. This belief has been more socially known as “Napoleon Complex,” first identified by Alfred Adley in 1926. Napoleon was 5’7″, by the way.
Another study conducted at Oxford University found that “Short Man Syndrome” really is a behavior found in short people.
This particular study found that the lowering of a person’s height raises feelings of vulnerability and provoke paranoia and anxiety but not necessarily any violent tendencies. This was done when making men shorter than others during a virtual reality experiment.
“Regardless, as society becomes increasingly superficial over body standards for both sexes, height appears to be an increasingly taboo topic for many men, almost to the point of an unspoken male body shaming,” says ShortList.
“In another study, scientists found height can affect people’s quality of life – with the those on the shorter side of the spectrum at risk of increased reports of negative feelings like incompetence, dislikability, and inferiority. On top of that, levels of mistrust, fear, and paranoia can be heightened,” according to Unilad.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that it’s likely the study included a test group that was too small to make a solid correlation between height and behavior.
In 2007, the University of Central Lancashire performed research and concluded that “Napoleon complex” could be just a myth.
In this contradictory research, it was found that shorter men were, in fact, less likely to lose their temper. The test subjects were requested to duel with one another while their heart rates were monitored. The university found that it was the taller men who were more likely to lose their temper and fight back.
Another study was done on this same side of the spectrum. The Wessex Growth Study in the UK found that from a psychological development side of things, children had “no significant differences in personality functioning or aspects of daily living were found which could be attributable to height.”
What do you think? Which of these studies seems to make the most sense to you? Let us know your opinion on the matter. Please SHARE this with your friends and family.
CORRECTION: Research has shown that it is not height that plays a factor in violent tendencies. Instead, it is men who feel less manly than the “accepted norm” of society who suffer from stress – but not violence. There have also been studies that mention lowering the height of someone in a virtual reality experiment made them feel vulnerable, but not violent.
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