Feeling Powerful Makes You Think You Are Taller Than You Are


Two other experiments, similar in design, reached the same conclusions. The findings have several implications, he added. Are people with less power more intimidated and unwilling to take risks? If so, are they always going to be pushed toward the bottom of the ladder?

Maybe they could be helped by physically elevating themselves above others, like putting their work station on stilts, or at least getting an office on the top floor of the building, the study suggests.

That might help, but it's no substitute for being big, according to other research. Evolutionary psychologists at Texas Tech University reported last October that people want their leaders to be big, or at least physically formidable. Those researchers found that taller candidates won 58 percent of U.S. presidential elections between 1789 and 2008.

Maybe what's really needed instead of presidential debates is a yard stick.

The fact that most humans shrink in the presence of giants shouldn't be all that surprising, perhaps. That's the way we began life.

As children, our parents were big. In grade school, the bigger kids pushed us around. In college, the football stars got the girls.

It's part of our evolutionary past, and it may be why the Texas Tech research referred to presidential elections as "caveman politics."

But here's betting all those aspirants to the nation's highest office think they're a lot taller than they really are.

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