Recently, Goodfullness.com sourced a story from CBS.com (CBS) in which it was reported that short stature causes populations of men to be more prone to anger and violence. The manner in which this was framed implied that the height deficit causes anger; however, the truth is a bit more nuanced.
It was brought to our attention by hoax-alert.leadstories.com that the way in which the story was presented could be deceiving. You can view the full text which unpacks the original research on their website, HERE.
As outlined by leadstories.com, short stature doesn’t cause paranoid thoughts or anger. It’s more that the perceived hypomasculinity that can accompany being short can act as a stressor, leading to negative effects on self-perception and behavior in the context of peers.
“…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).”
The main takeaway is that correlation does not equal causation, and the truth of the matter is much more nuanced. Goodfullness.com apologizes and will continue to tighten our editorial rigor in presenting stories in the most accurate way possible.
(Original Text Corrected 6/17/2019): Napoleon was well known for his prowess in war and the power that he held. He is also known for being slight in stature. In fact, there are many people who claim the ‘Napoleon complex’ is true across the board for all short men.
Recently, a study looked into the aggressiveness of short men and found that they actually had more aggressive tendencies than taller men.
This study was conducted by scientists at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. It discovered that shorter individuals were generally angrier and more violent then taller people.
In order to gather the data, some 600 men were observed who were between the ages of 18-50. It found that those who had a feeling of being less masculine were also three times more likely to be guilty of a violent or criminal act. According to scientists, it occurs because of “male discrepancy stress” and they tend to be more aggressive as a result.
These men are the product of stereotypes that are imposed on them by society. The lack of height is one of the things that made them feel less masculine. Scientists say that it is more likely for a short man to act aggressively because they are trying to make up for their short stature. It is commonly known as the ‘Napoleon complex’, which was first pointed out in 1926 by Alfred Adler, an Austrian psychoanalyst.
Mark van Vugt is an evolutionary psychologist who worked with a team of researchers at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Evidence of the Napoleon complex in men was uncovered in a 2018 study. Their conclusion? When short men are paired with taller men, the short men tend to act more aggressively. Experts also say that shorter people tend to feel more vulnerable and have more paranoia.
Some people claim that the test group was too small (no pun intended) to give an accurate result. Other studies have also been conducted and the findings tend to be contradictory. As an example, the University of Central Lancashire ran a study in 2017 that showed the Napoleon complex is not likely true.
According to the study, short men were actually less likely to lose their temper than average height men. The subjects had to duel with each other during the experiment and they monitored their heart rate. According to the data, taller men were more likely to lose their temper and strike back.
In the UK, The Wessex Growth Study monitored the psychological development of children until they were adults. According to their findings, “no significant differences in personality functioning or aspects of daily living were found which could be attributable to height.”