Powerful people think they are taller

January 3rd, 2012 - 8:37 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 3 (IANS) The more powerful you are, the taller you think yourself to be, affirms a new research.

Michelle Duguid and Jack Goncalo from Washington and Cornell universities puffed up volunteers into feeling empowered before testing them in three experiments on height perception.

The results show a definite correlation between feeling powerful and feeling tall.

Nicolas Sarkozy may only be 5 feet 5 inches, but being the president of France will make him feel taller, according to the study.

“The psychological experience of power may cause individuals to actually feel taller than an objective measurement would indicate they really are,” Duguid and Goncalo wrote.

In the first experiment, some participants were asked to recall an incident in which they had power over another individual while others were asked to recall an incident in which someone else had power over them, the Daily Mail reports.

They were then asked to estimate their size in relation to a pole that had been set precisely 20 inches taller than their actual heights.

Those who had been conditioned to feel ‘empowered’ thought the pole was nearer to them than those who’d been made to feel subordinate.

In experiment number two, pairs of volunteers were given role plays in which one was a manager and the other an ordinary worker. They were then asked to give their exact heights in a questionnaire, with those having played the role of manager supplying exaggerated figures.

Lastly, the participants were conditioned in the same way as they were in the first experiment and then asked to choose an avatar in a second-life game that they thought best represented them.

Again, the more empowered volunteers consistently chose taller avatars. Duguid and Goncalo summed up, saying: “We found that people literally perceived themselves as taller when they occupied a more powerful position.”

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