What Is Little Man Syndrome?


Quick Answer

"Little man syndrome," also known as "short man syndrome," is a psychological condition in which an individual experiences negative feelings due to being shorter than average, according to The Telegraph. The syndrome leads to feelings of incompetence, inferiority, paranoia and distrust of others. Both men and women can be affected, Wikipedia notes.

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Based on research conducted by Oxford University, The Telegraph reports that feeling small makes people believe others are talking about them or staring. The researchers posit that the negative feelings are based on an individual being positioned closer to the ground than others.

Being taller is linked to greater success in work and relationships, according to Professor Daniel Freeman, the study leader. Height is linked to authority and power, he notes. The study findings support prior studies connecting social status to height.

"Short man syndrome" is also known as "Napoleon complex," notes Wikipedia. The condition is associated with aggressive behavior and is typically used to describe an individual who seems to overcompensate for a perceived shortcoming. In scientific research, the term "Napoleon complex" is sometimes used to describe smaller organisms that behave aggressively to larger organisms. The complex is named for Napoleon, the emperor of France who was said to compensate for his short stature by seeking power.

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