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How Is It That People in Power Believe They’re Taller Than They Are?

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emeryjl, Flickr

Aside from high heels or standing on a milk crate, there aren’t very many ways to be taller. But according to a new study, achieving a position of power just might make you feel taller.

In work published in the journal Psychological Science, 300 people were enlisted for three experiments in which they were made to feel more or less powerful by, for example, being chosen as a manager versus an underling.

Afterwards, they were asked to estimate how tall they were in tasks such as comparing their stature to a pole or selecting an online avatar they thought most closely matched their own height.

Without fail, participants in a position of power overestimated their height, which may tie in with previous studies showing taller people tend to be better-paid and have more jobs with more authority.

The study authors said, “Although a great deal of research has shown that more physically imposing individuals are more likely to acquire power, this work is the first to show that powerful people feel taller than they are,” and added, “The discussion considers the implications for existing and future research on the physical experience of power.”

[Scientific American]

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