Earlier this week I saw a puff piece on Time.com about a study that finds that taller people experience more positive emotions than short people, on average. At first I brushed this story aside as meaningless.But then I saw it a few other places, which made me think about it more. I found the study on the National Bureau of Economic Research(the same people who declare recessions), but you have to pay for it and I declined to do so. I guess my opinions on this will have to do.
Here is what the study abstract says though:
According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index daily poll of the US population, taller people live better lives, at least on average.They evaluate their lives more favorably, and they are more likely to report a range of positive emotions such as enjoyment and happiness.They are also less likely to report a range of negative experiences, like sadness, and physical pain, though they are more likely to experience stress and anger, and if they are women, to worry. These findings cannot be attributed to different demographic or ethnic characteristics of taller people, but are almost entirely explained by the positive association between height and both income and education, both of which are positively linked to better lives.
I remember when I was younger 5 foot, 8 inches was average height for a man, just recently I saw that number move up to 5’9″, and now I see its 5’10”. I once was average, but now I’m two inches below it. But height is something I think about, especially if I’m with someone who is 6’2″ or above. I’m not exactly sure why, but it might have to do with looking dramatically up at someone to speak to them. But this doesn’t make me unhappy and I doubt it makes taller people more satisfied. The study must be finding a correlation and not a causation.
Personal appearance and the person’s feelings about it are shaped by their own self confidence and the culture of the society. Height is desirable just like being a blond is. However, most people would trade very little of value for either of them. What I’d like to see in a study is the comparative happiness of tall people and rich people. Or a study showing how much happier rich tall people are on the average through out time
Working Thoughts 07/31/08
One response to “Are you Tall? Are you Happy?”
I’m tall and happy. Beer helps too.