Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
jimmydasaint

Small Man Syndrome Could Be a Myth.

Recommended Posts

Being a small man, in most senses of the word, I was surprised to hear that the public perceive small men to be more aggressive and power hungry to overcompensate for their lack of height. However, it seems that this story could be a myth from a recent study by the University of Central Lancashire which shows the opposite to be a strong probability - i.e. Tall Man Syndrome.

 

Short men 'not more aggressive'

 

Dennis Wise's aggressive playing style made up for his lack of inches

The theory that short men end up as more aggressive than taller ones has been dismissed by a scientific study.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6501633.stm

 

However, Napoleon, Hitler and Sarkozy are small men.

 

What do you think?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, maybe, small men hate tall men for jealous and then angry small men decide to revenge... and become Hitlers, Napoleons and Sarkozys... they hate humanity because of their height. It could open a great conspirancy theory.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Napoleon was actually of average height of the time. French inches were 2.7 centimeters, so he's taller than it seems.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah. Napoleon was about 5'7". Hitler was about 5'9". In other words, two average-height guys. The misconception about Napoleon's height is due to mistranslated units, British propaganda, the fact that he surrounded himself with the universally tall Imperial Guard, and his nickname of "le petit caporal," where "petit" doesn't mean literally small, but just down to earth (believe it or not) and chummy with the lowest ranks of the army.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes...I did read that Napoleon was of average height for Frenchman of his time, and the information above is very interesting, but did not know about Hitler. I am only 5 foot 3 inches but thought I was taller for years because my Dad told me he was 5 foot 5 inches. (It turned out later that he was 5 foot 1 inch tall :)) Talk about small man syndrome!

 

However I am quite cool and rational and have learned to talk to taller people in a way that does not make me look small. For example I don't look up to make eye contact and sit down whenever I can to reduce the obvious height difference.

 

In the University study in the OP, tall men and short men under 5 foot 5 inches were told they were being tested for reflexes etc...but short people were asked to deliberately rap the taller people on the knuckles. It was found that the taller subjects were much more likely to retaliate and 'get their revenge'. Therefore I think the syndrome should now be renamed 'Tall Man Syndrome.'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm about 5'6" and I almost never notice. I've never really "felt" short. Of course, I will crack "short" jokes on myself to break the ice if the subject comes up so people will know not to worry about offending me. And I certainly don't feel the need to overcompensate for anything. And actually, I wonder how much of this is really just specious reasoning.

 

I mean, like most males, I'm not going to take unnecessary shit from anybody. I don't feel the need to back down in a confrontation just because the other guy might tower over me. So, I wonder if people then say "Yep, short man syndrome. He's overcompensating" - when really, I'm just doing what most of the rest of you "normal" heighted males would do.

 

I don't really know what is meant by the statement "learned to talk to taller people in a way..." - that tells me it's an issue for you. Why do you feel you need to self consciously "direct" yourself around tall people? Any people?

 

The only two drawbacks I've found in being short, so far, is that statistically we don't live as long, and women (including shorties) seem to be drawn to taller guys. (As a matter of fact, it seems inversely proportional to their height - the shorter they are, the taller and bigger the guy they're usually with).

 

Interesting study though, and I'm really not surprised, although I think Tom Cruise is an exception - he's overcompensating with his tendency toward tough guy roles. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a moderately tall guy at 6 foot. However, I never exhibit 'tall man syndrome'. In fact, I am so easy going that nothing riles me.

 

Interesting though, to see the recent studies of bullies. In spite of popular myth, bullies tend to be self confident people with high self esteem. They gain pleasure from tormenting those they see as inferior, but this has nothing to do with their own feelings of insecurity or any of those self effacing qualities. Basically, they are just arseholes!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I don't really know what is meant by the statement "learned to talk to taller people in a way..." - that tells me it's an issue for you. Why do you feel you need to self consciously "direct" yourself around tall people? Any people?

 

 

Not an issue as such, I think it is the Scottish thing about looking peopple in the eyes. I think that it exaggerates the height difference to try to look a tall person in the eyes to an onlooker, so to 'minimise' the exaggerated size difference I can just talk to a chest as comfortably. Anyone's chest - but with women I don't stare at the chest too often as other men do, with the 'talk to the breasts' syndrome that men have. In that case I tend to look down at the floor. It is just sheer convenience.

 

SkepticLance thanks for the information about bullies - so life is all about power, sex and money like my Dad told me....

Edited by Pangloss
fixed broken quote tag

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In spite of popular myth, bullies tend to be self confident people with high self esteem. They gain pleasure from tormenting those they see as inferior, but this has nothing to do with their own feelings of insecurity or any of those self effacing qualities. Basically, they are just arseholes!

 

Sorry, but unless you can support this, you're flat out wrong. It's not "popular myth," it's diagnostically validated most of the time bullies are overcompensating for deep insecurity, trying to make themselves feel bigger by making others feel smaller.

 

There are, of course, outliers, but for you to simply assret that this is a "popular myth" is to seriously be counter reality.

 

 

Bullying is congruent with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and a need for attention, both tying profoundly to insecurity and immaturity. There are also different kinds of bullies, and different motivations for bullying behavior.

 

 

The page below does a good job of capturing some of the complexities missed by Lance's blanket dismissal above:

 

 

http://teril.wordpress.com/2008/07/26/description-of-a-bully/

 

Characterised by a pervasive pattern of grandiosity and self-importance, need for admiration, and lack of empathy, people with narcissistic personality disorder overestimate their abilities and inflate their accomplishments, often appearing boastful and pretentious, whilst correspondingly underestimating and devaluing the achievements and accomplishments of others.

 

<...>

 

 

Insecure and emotionally immature people often exhibit bullying behaviours, especially manipulation and deception. These are necessary in order to obtain attention which would not otherwise be forthcoming. Bullies and harassers have the emotional age of a young child and will exhibit temper tantrums, deceit, lying and manipulation to avoid exposure of their true nature and to evade accountability and sanction. This page lists some of the most common tactics bullies and manipulators employ to gain attention for themselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sorry, but unless you can support this, you're flat out wrong. It's not "popular myth," it's diagnostically validated most of the time bullies are overcompensating for deep insecurity, trying to make themselves feel bigger by making others feel smaller.

 

Bullying is congruent with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and a need for attention, both tying profoundly to insecurity and immaturity. There are also different kinds of bullies, and different motivations for bullying behavior.

 

I guess this is anecdotal, but I actually went through that phase for a few months when I started middle school. Believe it or not, being the shortest kid in school, I was actually a bully for a short period - backed up by big friends of course. Bullies always seem to be sure they outgun their opponent unfairly, and I was no different. After all, I couldn't have gotten away with it otherwise.

 

Which is exactly what happened. I got humiliated by a kid that refused to take my bullying - he struck me a couple of times in front of everyone and then paused to see what I would do - I left in disgrace. I never bullied another person the rest of my life. And, now I'm ashamed that I ever did it.

 

But yeah, obviously I was overcompensating for my size - trying to be masculine and significant using the wrong tools and the wrong approach. I changed directions and went to humor and attempted intellect to achieve these things and it's worked out so much better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I dont care much about my height. I am about 5,35 feet and I'm not sad about that... I don't care much about relationshps so it isn't a big problem for me. I wouldn't kill all jewish because of my height (or for any other reason, ok!! :D).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm 6'4'' and I'm somewhat aggressive if provoked, but I'm quite shy and have never bullied anyone intentionally. I know someone of similar height who has cracked a guy's head open with an ashtray or something and once smashed his fist through a window. He's also the kind of guy who's likely to get mad if he doesn't win at something. So I suppose that the "tall man syndrome" could actually exist to some extent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think most of the events being described are not height dependent, and may be better described as "Fully Grown Toddler" syndrome. :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, there does seem to be evidence that height significantly affects psychology, which really shouldn't be surprising. It's just not as simple as "the tall man syndrome" or whatever. For example, statistically, taller people make more money, on average about $800 per year per inch. The difference is biggest in careers with the most social interaction, like sales or management, but still exists pretty much across the board. However, the difference is much less for tall people who weren't tall as children and teenagers (i.e., who developed late). The (speculative) explanation being that your height relative to your peers during your most formative years has a lifelong effect on overall confidence. Or something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is all very interesting but what are these "women" and "money" that tall people normally have by the truckloads?

 

:(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

- I was always among the 2-3 tallest in my classes when I was young.

- My height was average/slightly above average when I was a teenager.

- I'm pretty tall now (a little less than 190cm).

 

From my experience, height makes a huge difference, and I'm curious to know why. Why men feel so bad about being small ?

 

I doubt it has anything to do with fighting abilities, after all, many tall people are ectomorphs... It might have something to do with development, or it might simply be some sort of primitive behavior with no adaptive value for modern humans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<speculation>I've heard that recently people have been getting taller, and that this is mostly due to better nutrition. It stands to reason, then, that being taller has historically shown that you are well-fed (aka successful). Then, it would have been advantageous for people to try to get on the good side, and avoid getting on the bad side, of taller people. Basically, that people would treat taller people as if they were more important.</speculation>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To iNow

 

Re bullies

 

I am afraid you are somewhat out of date. It is true that, for a long time, bullying was considered to be a result of low self esteem and insecurity. However, this idea was based on theory, not empirical studies. The sad thing is that this myth is still being promulgated in all sorts of literature. Only in the last few years have a few research psychologists decided to test the hypothesis. Much to their surprise, they found that the typical bully was actually someone with high self esteem. That does not stop them from being total scumbags who should have been strangled at birth, but their behaviour is not the result of low self esteem.

 

I first read the modern version in a paper edition of New Scientist, reporting on the research. Sadly I have lost that reference.

 

For what it is worth, here is their email version of that article, but you need to be a subscriber to read it all.

 

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=mg18524891.400

 

Other articles like the one below report the same finding.

 

http://www.byparents-forparents.com/causesbullies.html

 

I quote :

 

"Psychologists used to believe that bullies have low self-esteem, and put down other people to feel better about themselves. While many bullies are themselves bullied at home or at school, new research shows that most bullies actually have excellent self-esteem. Bullies usually have a sense of entitlement and superiority over others, and lack compassion, impulse control and social skills. They enjoy being cruel to others and sometimes use bullying as an anger management tool, the way a normally angry person would punch a pillow."

 

And yes iNow, if you want to argue, you will be able to find lots of out of date references that claim bullies have low self esteem. There are even lots of so-called 'experts' who still make that claim. They are wrong. That was the old idea, now obsolete.

Edited by SkepticLance

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lance,

 

One lone study and a non-scientific website doesn't warrant your condescension. As I explicitly mentioned, there are different motivations for bullying and different types of bullying behavior, so quit being such a absolutist dumbass before I crack your skull. I'm taller than you. :D

 

 


line[/hr]

 

 

<speculation>I've heard that recently people have been getting taller, and that this is mostly due to better nutrition. It stands to reason, then, that being taller has historically shown that you are well-fed (aka successful). Then, it would have been advantageous for people to try to get on the good side, and avoid getting on the bad side, of taller people. Basically, that people would treat taller people as if they were more important.</speculation>

 

That is one. Others I've heard are a) longer reach made for better fighters; and b) being taller allowed them to see farther, so they could better protect from attack as well as make attacks. For some reason, taller people have tended toward leadership, which brings with it higher reproductive potential.

Edited by iNow
multiple post merged

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My understanding of “small man syndrome” is based on a consideration of the factors involved that may cause a person to feel “less than”. A person that is made to feel “less than” may be driven by a need to feel “better than”, “greater than”, “more powerful than”. A healthy self esteem is not driven by such considerations.

 

There are many factors that can cause an individual to chronically feel “less than”, and most of us are not immune from them. Child rearing practices, for at least the last few thousand years, are rooted in the dominance and control of children. Alice Miller wrote a great book called “For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-rearing and the Roots of Violence” that explores the hidden cruelty in accepted child rearing practices and its disasterous effects on a childs self esteem.

 

Don't we all harbor some rage at “bigness”? Don't we "respect" it and admire it, or else? Wouldn't we like to have it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

iNow

 

You really do not have to argue with everything I say, you know. There is no law preventing you from simply accepting some of it.

 

The new understanding of what motivates bullies is only a couple of years old. However, unlike the older view, this is based on real world tests, instead of psychologists 'political correctness.' Because it is so new, a lot of the old ideas are still being circulated.

 

Reminds me of the discovery that ulcers were caused by a bacterium. Years after that was proved, and ulcers healed entirely with antibiotics, with all the results published in peer reviewed medical journals, many medical lecturers were still teaching that ulcers are a result of acidity.

 

In this case, even though real world tests show bullying is caused mainly by an inappropriate sense of superiority, many psychologists refuse to believe it, and teach that it is caused by insecurity and poor self esteem, where the actual real world tests showed clearly that typical bullies have strong self esteem.

 

This is a case where real data should be accepted, and mere "it seemed a good idea at the time" concepts should be dumped.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here's another fun fact to throw in the mix: apparently, women prefer different height men at different points in their menstrual cycles. What fascinating creatures!

 

" “Our results confirm that when women are potentially fertile or seeking a partner for a short-term relationship, they more often choose larger men”, the authors said. “A man’s height may indicate his high quality genotype”, they explained, so “…women follow that strategy which increases the chances for acquiring better genes for their offspring”. "

 

I'm feeling like having the worst gens... almost like being an aberration.

Women must like me during Pre-Menstrual Tension o_o''

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
iNow

 

You really do not have to argue with everything I say, you know. There is no law preventing you from simply accepting some of it.

I only argue with you so frequently because you are so frequently wrong. When you are correct, I have no issue accepting it. :)

 

 

 

In this case, even though real world tests show bullying is caused mainly by an inappropriate sense of superiority, many psychologists refuse to believe it, and teach that it is caused by insecurity and poor self esteem, where the actual real world tests showed clearly that typical bullies have strong self esteem.

 

This is a case where real data should be accepted, and mere "it seemed a good idea at the time" concepts should be dumped.

 

You see, you've really stepped in it now. You are admonishing me and the entire field of psychology, and you are doing so using a single source (NewScientist) which suggested something other than commonly accepted wisdom as your sword. However, you apparently didn't bother to actually read the work of the researcher being referenced.

 

Let me help you out.

 

The link you shared cited work done by Peter Smith of the University of London. He quite literally wrote the book on the subject of bullying. So, me being the studious young lad that I am, I went and familiarized myself with his conclusions and the outcomes of his work.

 

What I found was how careful he was to describe the multitude of differences in bullying behavior and motivations (hmmm... that sounds pretty similar to what I wrote... go figure). He also discusses regional differences, gender differences, differences in mental states among bullies, and also differences in vigilance of the teachers, parents, and other authority figures. As you alluded to, he also mentions that a small group of bullies showed high levels of self-esteem, but also mentions that this is not representative of the greater bully population.

 

 

My point? You can hardly attribute one dimension of bullying behavior that is relatively limited in the population as a cause to dismiss all of the other dimensions of bullying behavior. In sum, if you're going to be such an asshat to people, you really ought to make yourself more familiar with the weapons you are using to do so before you get spanked.

 

You might try starting with the below:

 

http://old.gold.ac.uk/tmr/

http://www.goldsmiths.ac.uk/psychology/staff/smith.php

http://old.gold.ac.uk/tmr/reports/aim2_firenze2.html

http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/27/47/33866548.ppt

http://www.uclan.ac.uk/psychology/bully/files/sutton.htm

 

 

 

Now, if perhaps you were NOT referring to the work of Peter Smith, but instead to the "2004 UK pop music station BBC Radio 1 mounted "Beat Bullying" campaign, which over six weeks was flooded with more than 1 million requests for its free "Beat Bullying" wristbands," please do let us all know so I can correct my response.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

iNow

 

Sorry mate. On this, you are wrong. Since the new information is only a couple of years old, the old myth about low self esteem is widely disseminated. You could find literally dozens of references on google showing the wrong message.

 

As I said, recent empirical work shows the opposite.

 

eg. http://behavioral-management.com/bullies-selfesteem/

 

I quote :

 

"By James Burns • October 18, 2007

 

Psychologists used to believe that bullies have low self-esteem, and that they put down other people to feel better about themselves. But current research shows that most bullies actually have high self-esteem. Bullies usually have a sense of entitlement and a feeling of superiority over others, and lack compassion, impulse control and social skills. They enjoy being cruel to others and sometimes use bullying as an anger management tool, the way a normally angry person would punch a pillow. Research does support the fact that bullies have low empathy and don’t know how it feels to be in someone else’s shoes."

 

Note the date. More recent information shows the new reality. You can quote outdated references and ideas all you like. That does not make them true.

 

http://iidb.infidels.org/vbb/archive/index.php/t-92873.html

 

I quote :

 

"Here's a description of the recent study from UCLA (http://www.college.ucla.edu/juvonen.htm) which was published in Pediatrics at the end of last year.

 

“Bullies are popular and respected: they are considered the ‘cool’ kids,��? said Jaana Juvonen, UCLA professor of psychology, and lead author of “Bullying Among Young Adolescents: The Strong, the Weak, and the Troubled,��? published in the December issue of the journal Pediatrics. “They don’t show signs of depression or social anxiety, and they don’t feel lonely.

 

“We hope that these findings help us dispel the myth that bullies suffer from low self-esteem,��? Juvonen said. “Our data indicate that bullies do not need ego boosters. Unfortunately, this myth is still guiding many programs conducted in schools. Instead, we should be concerned about the popularity of bullies and how to change the peer culture that encourages bullying.��?"

 

iNow

 

We could enter into a reference war, quite easily. You could find dozens of outdated and outmoded references saying bullies have low self esteem, and I could reply with a bunch of references showing what the latest research indicates - that bullies have usually got high self esteem. I really think we have gone far enough. On this issue I am right, and you are clinging to obsolete ideas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.