Video: The Fear of Being Short

By: 
Patricia Waldron
2014-01-29 12:15

If you think that others are out to get you, stand tall. A new study finds that people who perceive themselves as short are more likely to experience feelings of paranoia. Researchers took 60 women with a history of paranoia on a simulated trip in a subway car via a virtual reality headset. The subjects went on the ride twice, but on one trip, the scientists lowered their perspective by 25 cm to make them feel shorter than the other riders. Though the women were often unaware that their vantage point had changed, when they felt shorter, they scored two points higher on a test rating their level of paranoia. They also described feeling vulnerable and that more people had stared at them, researchers report in Psychiatry Research. The results may be useful for treating paranoia by finding that these delusions are rooted in feelings of inferiority. Though they tested only women, the scientists expect that the same experiment in men would cause even more distress, because men generally place greater importance on height and are more likely to exaggerate their own size.

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