Psychologists have proven that shorter people are more likely to act hostile to compensate for their height.

An international team of psychologists led by the University of Padua in  Italy found that short people often act hostile to compensate for their lack of height. The findings of the study, the scientists outlined in an article published in  the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

In psychology, there is the concept of the dark triad, a term that includes personality traits such as narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. These traits are believed to harm others, as they are associated with a person’s propensity for manipulation, cynicism, narcissism and lies. According to scientists, these traits predominate in people who are short and dissatisfied with their height.

The study involved 367 adults who filled out a questionnaire to assess the above traits, and also reported their height and the desire or unwillingness to be taller. Both actual height and height satisfaction were negatively correlated with dark triad traits. In other words, shorter people and those who wanted to be taller tended to show more psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism.

Moreover, the negative correlation between height and narcissism was stronger among men. But the level of psychopathy and Machiavellianism did not depend on the gender of the participants.

“Most likely this is due to the fact that, from the point of view of evolution, when people cannot be physically formidable, they become psychologically formidable,” the scientists explained.

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