A study is saying that little man syndrome is a real thing. According to The Telegraph on Jan. 29, an Oxford University study determined that feeling smaller can make you more distrustful and paranoid of others.
Researchers used virtual reality technology to reduce the height of participants taking a simulated ride on the train. During the study, the participant was asked to ride the virtual train twice—once at a normal height and once at a shorter height. The height change of 10 inches wasn’t made known to the participant and all other people surrounding him/her were instructed to remain neutral through both rides.
However, during the shorter ride, it was made clear how a shorter person feels. While shorter, the participants reported more negative feelings, such as being dislikable or inferior. Along with those feelings, participants also experienced increased mistrust, paranoia and fear. They thought someone was trying to cause them distress or thinking badly of them.
In the journal Psychiatry Research the scientists stated,” The results were very clear: lowering of height led to more negative evaluations of the self compared with others and greater levels of paranoia.”
The scientists believe that this study shows how experiencing social situations when short can have detrimental psychological effects and that low self-esteem is linked to increased paranoia.
This study can also be further applied when studying the relationship between height and social status.