Are Height and Intelligence Linked?

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Although the connection may be small — no pun intended — researchers have discovered a significant correlation in the DNA between tall people and intelligence.

The study, published in the journal Behavior Genetics, was the first to analyze the DNA markers for height in people who are not related. Data was collected from more than 6,800 unrelated people from The Generation Scotland Study.

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“We tested whether DNA-based genetic similarities among people related to their similarities in height and intelligence,” study author Riccardo Marioni told Britain’s Sunday Times. “What we found was a small association between height and intelligence such that people who are taller tend to be smarter.”

Both height and high IQ are also linked with better health, the researchers point out in the new study. The researchers hope the data could be used to predict other health outcomes. It’s good news for Americans, who tend to be on the tall side globally.

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If you’re vertically challenged, though, no worries: The researchers attributed about 70 percent of short people’s IQs to genetic factors.

And not all studies have pointed to better outcomes for the giraffes among us: Tall post-menopausal women may be at higher risk of developing cancer. Plus, tall people are clearly more at risk for hitting their heads on door frames and light fixtures — no research necessary.

Photo: Simon Marcus/Corbis