What can give a psychopath away: scientists have made an unexpected discovery

Yulia PoteriankoLife
Short stature forced people to look for other ways to survive besides physical superiority over the enemy

Probably only very tall people have never wanted to become at least a few centimeters taller. Still, scientists have discovered that this desire may actually be linked to a dangerous mental disorder. A new study indicates that an obsessive desire to grow up correlates with a person's tendency to exhibit traits known as the "dark triad": psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism.

This conclusion was reached by scientists from the University of Padua, Italy. The results of their work were published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

"Short people, especially those who would like to be taller, are more likely to have traits that make them more prone to ostentatious behavior and confrontation, as well as interest in power," said Peter Jonason, the lead author of the study. According to scientists, this is how short people can compensate for their lack of height.

It is known that people with psychopathic traits lack empathy, are impulsive, and despise social norms and rules. People prone to narcissism are characterized by an increased sense of self-importance, the belief that everyone owes them, and the need to be admired. Machiavellianism, as another part of the "dark triad," is characterized by a tendency to manipulation, cynicism, and lack of morality.

According to Jonason, such character traits are of such great interest to scientists because of the idea that they can help people achieve status, find partners, and survive. These traits can affect people's ability to compete with others. At the same time, the "dark triad" is not something that is approved by society.

However, scientists note that short stature is more likely to provoke narcissism in men than in women. As for psychopathy and Machiavellianism, there was no significant difference between the sexes.

A total of 367 adults from the United States took part in the study. They were asked to fill out a questionnaire to determine the traits of the "dark triad" to assess their level of psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism. The researchers also asked the participants to indicate their actual height and whether they were satisfied with it or would like to be taller.

The processed data showed that people with shorter stature who would like to be bigger were more likely to show signs of psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism. The authors of the study suggested that this may be due to the evolutionary need to survive not at the expense of physical size but at the expense of the ability to psychologically influence others. In other words, if someone was physically smaller and weaker, they tried to find a psychological advantage to be on equal footing with others.

The researchers suggest that this could also have provided survival and mating advantages. Short men could demand respect, acquire resources, and impress romantic partners with their personality traits, for example, while short women could use deception to appear more desirable or gain protection and resources.

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