Are tall people smarter than short people? Research finds ‘moderate’ genetic connection between height, IQ

Short people can’t seem to catch a break from science.

Recently, researchers at the University of Oxford found that feeling short leads to lower self-esteem and paranoia in social situations.

Now a new study from the University of Edinburgh finds the shorties among us may not measure up to their taller peers intellectually.

Previous studies have identified a genetic correllation between height and IQ using twins and family members, but this study was the first to test the connection using DNA markers in unrelated people, study author Riccardo Marioni told Britain’s Sunday Times. Researchers analyzed genetic data on 6,815 men and women collected by the Scottish Family Health Study between 2006 and 2011.

“We tested whether DNA-based genetic similarities among people related to their similarities in height and intelligence,” Marioni said.

“What we found was a small association between height and intelligence such that people who are taller tend to be smarter.”

While the genetic correllation between being tall and being smart was “moderate,” study authors wrote, people who have both traits share common genetic variants.

In the U.S., the average man is 5’9″, while the average woman is just under 5’4″.

Higher IQ scores and being taller than average are both associated with better health, according to previous research cited in the study.

Short people are thought to be at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, while higher IQ is linked to lower overall mortality risk and a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and suicide.

Study results don’t always favor tall people, though. Other research has found that taller women are at increased risk for cancer after menopause, and studies on soldiers and athletes have found shorter individuals live longer on average than their taller peers.

The purpose of the new study, the authors wrote, is to better understand the genetic link between height, IQ and health in order to predict and prevent some of those negative outcomes.

The paper was published online in the Journal Behavioral Genetics.

The original article can be found at

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Are tall people smarter than short people?

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