Short people may be short on brains, study says

A study by Edinburgh University's Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine sees a "small" link between height and intelligence.

The long and short of intelligence? TallWomen2013/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I am not one to cast aspersions -- either up or down.

I had never thought that size meant anything, nor that height made any difference to people, other than altering their visual perspective.

Recently, though, an Oxford University study intimated that short people might be low on self-esteem. They tend, allegedly, not to have high opinions of themselves. Worse, there are many social problems that many short people feel the need to overcome. (See video below.)

Now along trots another British study that suggests the vertically challenged might be short on intellect. As Britain's Sunday Times (behind a tall paywall) reports, short people may tend to have smaller IQs.

Researchers at Edinburgh University's Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine analyzed the DNA of more than 6,800 people, none of whom was related to any other, to "estimate the genetic correlation between height and general intelligence." The end goal of the study, the first of its kind, was to explore whether this genetic link may determine other health outcomes.

The Institute's Riccardo Marioni told the Sunday Times: "What we found was a small association between height and intelligence such that people who are taller tend to be smarter."

You have to admire his use of the word "small." There is nothing more responsible than an academic who refuses to be alarmist.

In addition to describing the relationship as "small," though, Marioni let it slip that it was "statistically significant." He also said that the research indicated that 70 percent of short people's smaller IQs could be attributed to genetic factors.

It's inevitable, when research like this emerges, that we look around our own lives to see whether we discover correlation. One could suddenly notice that the person who treated one most stupidly happened to be a mere 4'11" tall.

One could extend one's thinking to a quick look at that person's mendacious, distorted family and conclude they must be at least a 70 percent reason for the short person's intellectual deficiencies.

In the end, though, what good would it do? Even the supposedly smartest people in the world can do the most absurdly stupid things.

Should we use height as a determinant for all our most important decisions? Should we judge the likes of British Prime Minister David Cameron (6'1") to be obviously more intelligent than Russian President Vladimir Putin (5'5")?

Or is it better to give short people time to let their intelligence blossom in the light of the taller brain's influence? Then again, 60 percent of NBA players are bankrupt five years after retirement.

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