Tall People Are NOT Smarter!

By Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist. Please sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT 

According to a 2006 study by researchers from Princeton University (see http://www.nber.org/papers/w12466.pdf) taller people earn more money because, presumably, they’re smarter.

I think the Princeton researchers were wrong.

On the surface, the researchers’ conclusions, based on their research, seem convincing. But they could still be wrong! The world is full of smart, accomplished people who are short on inches but not on brains. For some reason, the Princeton study conveniently ignores them.

Scientists Aren’t Always Right!

The scientific community has been proven wrong before. In 1959, Canadian regulators approved the drug Thalidomide for pregnant women, but it was later found to cause birth defects (http://www.thalidomide.ca/the-canadian-tragedy/). Also, at one time, scientists believed—wrongly, as it turned out—that the size of the universe had always been the same size and that it would never change (http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-most-famous-scientific-theories-that-turned-out-to-be-wrong.php).

Just like the rest of us, scientists can be influenced by biases, in this case, by height bias. It’s not unreasonable to assume that these scientists could have concluded—perhaps unconsciously—that shorter people are less intelligent and capable because they look a lot less imposing than their taller counterparts. Such a bias could very well have influenced the information the scientists were looking for and the way they interpreted it.

Far too many people think that scientists are infallible. And what’s most disheartening about the results of this study is the fact that nobody challenged the Princeton researchers. Height bias is so widespread in our society that many people are not really aware of it.

The reality is that height has nothing to do with intelligence, as these 20 famous short smarties prove:


Dr. Joyce Brothers (1927-2013), 5’, was called “the mother of television psychology” by the Washington Post. A very popular psychologist and television personality, she wrote a daily newspaper advice column from 1960 to 2013.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 5’, is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. She is the second female justice to be confirmed to the Court, after Sandra Day O’Connor.

Judge Judy (Judith Sheindlin), 5’1”, an American lawyer, former judge, television personality, producer, and author, has been the star of her own successful Daytime Emmy-Award winning reality courtroom series, Judge Judy, since 1996.

Chrystia Freeland, 5’2”, an award-winning journalist and politician, is the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada.

Rachel Notley, 5’2”, is a Canadian politician and the former Premier of Alberta. She’s also a lawyer and a graduate of the venerable Osgoode Hall Law School.

Joan Rivers (1933-2014), 5’2”, a ground breaking female comedian, launched her phenomenally successful career in the 1950’s, a time when female stand-up acts were rare.

Tori Amos, 5’2”, is an accomplished American singer-songwriter, pianist, and composer. She is also a classically-trained musician who won a full scholarship to the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University at the age of five.

Bette Davis (1908-1989), 5’2.5”, is widely regarded as one of the greatest actresses in Hollywood history. A two-time Academy Award winner for Best Actress, she was the first person to earn ten Academy Award nominations for acting.

Carole King, 5’3.5”, an American composer and singer-songwriter, wrote or co-wrote 118 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart between 1955 and 1999.

Margaret Atwood, 5’4”, is a celebrated Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, and environmental activist. She has won the Booker Prize, Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature.


Robert Reich, 4’10”, a distinguished American professor and author, served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and was Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton.

Martin Scorsese, 5’3”, an Oscar-winning director, is widely regarded as one of the most significant and influential filmmakers in movie history.

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), 5’4”, lead India’s independence from British rule. Famous for employing nonviolent civil disobedience, he inspired movements for civil rights and freedoms around the world.

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), 5’4”, is considered one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. He is known for developing a wide range of artistic styles, including Cubism and collage.

Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977), 5’4”, an English comedian, filmmaker, and composer, was one of the most important figures in movie making history. His career lasted an impressive 75 years.

Dr. David Suzuki, 5’4”, is a Canadian science broadcaster, academic, and environmental activist. He was a professor in the genetics department at the University of British Columbia from 1963 until his retirement in 2001. He is also a Companion of the Order of Canada.

Dick Cavett, 5’6.5”, an American television personality and former talk show host, was known for his intelligent conversational style and in-depth discussions.

Albert Einstein, (1879-1955), 5’7”, a brilliant German-born theoretical physicist, developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars (with quantum mechanics) of modern physics.

Paul Krugman, 5’7”, is an American economist who won the 2008 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. He is currently a Distinguished Professor of Economics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and a columnist for the New York Times.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), 5’7”, an American Baptist minister and activist, was the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1964, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance.

photo credit: Scott McLeod Troublemaker via photopin (license)


Kathleen Jones is a moderately short (5’2.5”) author. Her first novel, Love Is the Punch Line, a midlife romance set in the world of stand-up comedy, is available NOW, in trade paperback and ebook from Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/Love-Punch-Line-Kathleen-Jones-ebook/dp/B07BYNX7BM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1525812415&sr=1-1&keywords=love+is+the+punch+line) and Indigo Books and Music (https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/love-is-the-punch-line/9781945181337-item.html?ikwid=love+is+the+punch+line&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0) Visit the Love Is the Punch LineMedia Room at https://kathleenjones.org/media-room/

Author: kath1960

A lover of words who writes from the heart. Welcome to my site! I’m a refugee from the corporate world, a lover of books, dogs, and 1940’s/1950’s vintage clothing (not necessarily in that order!), a wife and a mom . . . and, oh yeah, a novelist! My first novel, a lighthearted romance set in the world of stand-up comedy, will be published by Moonshine Cove in April 2018.

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