Monday, March 03, 2014
They're already called 'vertically challenged' - but are short people intellectually challenged too?
The connection between height and IQ is well known. It is however usually expressed as tall men being brighter
They are already cursed with the rather unflattering label of ‘vertically challenged’.
Now experts say short people may also be intellectually challenged too - or at least in comparison to their taller counterparts.
A new study has found a link between IQ and height, suggesting that those who are shorter are on average more likely to be less intelligent.
Academics identified genes that influence both height and IQ, and said there was a ‘significant genetic correlation’ between the two factors.
The research, which covered more than 6,800 unrelated people, is the first to analyse DNA markers in such a way.
Riccardo Marioni, from Edinburgh University’s Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, said the link was small but important.
He said: ‘We tested whether DNA-based genetic similarities among people related to their similarities in height and intelligence.
‘Previous studies have used twin or family data to examine similarities between height and intelligence, whereas ours was the first to examine this using actual DNA markers in unrelated people.
‘What we found was a small association between height and intelligence such that people who are taller tend to be smarter.’
The claim is likely to be disputed by millions in Britain who fall short of the average height, 5ft 3in for women and 5ft 9in for men.
One is certain to be John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, who at 4ft 5ins is dwarfed by his 5ft 11in wife, Sally.
But among those who appear to prove the theory is David Cameron, who is 6ft 1in is blessed with both height and intelligence.
Others include actress Kate Beckinsale, who studied French and Russian literature at Oxford and is fluent in both languages.
Stephen Fry, the host of QI, the puzzle-based television show, is 6ft 5in.
Marioni conducted his study in partnership with academics from Aberdeen University and University College London.
They based their findings on data compiled from thousands of people recruited for the Scottish Family Health Study between 2006 and 2011.
IQ was measured by tests which examined reaction times, powers of recall and linguistic ability.
Previous studies have linked short stature to heightened risk of cardiovascular disease.
Higher IQ has been linked to longevity and a decreased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and suicide.
Previous studies have also claimed that short-man syndrome, known as the Napoleon complex, does exist. Researchers at Oxford University recently found that feeling smaller makes people paranoid, distrustful and scared of others. In fact, men of about 5ft 4in have been shown to be 50 per cent more likely to be jealous and distrustful of their partners than those measuring 6ft 6in.
Studies have also claimed smaller people are more likely than taller ones to have poor mental health.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).