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Powerful People Feel Taller Than Less Powerful Counterparts

by Kathy Jones on January 8, 2012 at 11:08 PM
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 Powerful People Feel Taller Than Less Powerful Counterparts

A new study has found that the more powerful people are, the taller they think are.

Michelle Duguid from Washington University in St Louis and Jack Goncalo from Cornell University in New York conditioned 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 and the study even suggests that employers might like to place short key workers in high offices to help them feel more dominant.

"The psychological experience of power may cause individuals to actually feel taller than an objective measurement would indicate they really are," the Daily Mail quoted them as saying.n 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.

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 the second experiment, two pairs of volunteers were asked to role-play, 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 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.

"We found that people literally perceived themselves as taller when they occupied a more powerful position.

"By extension, controlling an individual's physical positioning may be a relatively inexpensive and nonintrusive way to empower them and hence fundamentally transforms their psychological states.

"Hence, it may also be possible to situate a people in a higher place - for example in office in the top floor of the building - to raise their psychological sense of power," they added.

Source: ANI
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