The enthusiasm around the couple formed by Zendaya and Tom Holland testifies to this: men under 1.73 meters, once criticized, now seem to be popular. But if you were about to embark on a search for modern-day Prince Charming, know that it can have a downside. Polish scientists have found that short men may be linked to more confrontational behavior than their taller counterparts.
A new study, published in the journal Elsevier Personality and Individual Differences, revealed for the first time an existing correlation between the traits of the “dark triad” (personality theory) and the size of an individual. To highlight this link, the analysis relayed by the New York Post was based on the three main pillars of the psychological test, constituting the dark triad: psychopathy (lack of empathy and antisocial behavior), narcissism (egocentrism) and Machiavellianism (manipulation and indifference towards mortality) .
For the 233 men and 134 women who volunteered and were mostly heterosexual, the results diverged. “Short females tend to use deception to appear more desirable or to gain some form of protection”, write the researchers. But no sign of psychopathy.
On the other hand, the male sex was not spared. Scientists not only noticed that men with dark triad traits were less satisfied with their height, but more importantly that being conflicted could be due to their shortness. “We believe that these behavioral syndromes are designed by natural selection to enable less imposing individuals to continue to meet life’s challenges”they explain.
To dig deeper into the origin of the Machiavellian traits, professionals have linked the present study to the Napoleon complex. The Emperor was regularly mocked by British newspapers because of his size. Although this one claimed to be 1.80 meters, historians have revised this figure downwards and have rather leaned for 1.68 meters. And this famous inferiority complex, Napoleon gets it from his way of exercising authority: not being particularly imposing, the soldier sought power through aggression.
“When someone is not physically formidable and does not have an intimidating presence, he must impose himself by other means, and in particular by psychology”warns Monika Kozlowska, lead author of the study. “Short men who exhibit traits such as psychopathy may use them to demand respect or impress their partner.”
Appearances can therefore sometimes be deceiving: contrary to the saying, all that is small is not necessarily cute.