A Virtual Reality Train Ride & Height & ParanoiaPosted: 2014/01/29 | |
As anyone who’s been to a gig and isn’t six feet tall has probably experienced, being surrounded by people taller than you—why does that always happen?—can be annoying at best, and kind of scary at worst. There’s a certain vulnerability that comes with suddenly feeling shorter than those around you. A paper published online today in the journal Psychiatry Research looks at part of this phenomenon, by investigating the relation between height and paranoia.
The study, which was led by researchers at Oxford University and funded by the Medical Research Council, found that being shorter made people feel more mistrustful of those around them. They came to this conclusion after a virtual reality experiment in which participants took two virtual rides on the London Underground; one at their own height, and one with their height artificially reduced by 25cm about a head. They weren’t told that their line of sight had been lowered until after the study.
And for anyone whose immediate reaction is “duhh wear heels then” — yes. That is spectacular advice for people taking public transportation who are already anxious and paranoid about those around them. Knowing a toddler could probably outrun you really eases the fear.
And no, I don’t want to use the easy “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” reference, but I just did 😦