Talk:Napoleon complex

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-- 06:58, 5 December 2005 (UTC)Isn't it called a "Napoleonic" complex? (not "Napoleon")

You have to be F ing kidding me. The reason why Napoleon complex exist is because taller men label a guy that happens to be a jerk who happens to be short. I know a lot of tall guys that act like bullies and think they are gods gift because they are 6'3. These same guys are always 160 pounds and think they are stronger because they are taller. Could you imagine if wikipedia had a N-word Complex listing. This is a joke that a site as big as this would even allow this entry. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:11, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Also the link about Misconceptions around doesn't address the issue

Actually it would if the article mentionned the fact that napoleon was slightly taller than than the average frenchman of his era...

Hitler's height[edit]

This is a load of rubbish. Can someone provide any evidence that Hitler was ever measured at 162.5cms? He was measured at 173cms barefoot in an Austrian Army physical. Whoever entered that in is completely clueless and obviously has never seen an image of Hitler in his life! Maybe he is led to believe this simply because Hitler is conveniently played as a short guy in films (Chaplin in the Great Dictator, Bruno Ganz in Der Untergang and possibly the guy from Valkyrie...) It is not a fact, and shows how much media can warp things.

11:46, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

"Reverse Napoleon Complex" does not exist...[edit]

...outside of Wikipedia mirrors and Internet forum postings, that is. Click here to see what I mean.--Rmky87 02:50, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

One thing not mentioned here is the individual's need for control as well. This is extremely crucial.

badly written article. not of the typical wikipediahigh standard.

Also agreed - Was the article written by a short man with a short man complex? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:17, 13 May 2011 (UTC)


This is a poorly written article. I also think there is probably a flaw in the study listed - at least as it relates to Napolean Complex. As a tall guy myself, I assure you it exists, and I think most tall men would agree. There's always one guy in the bar who wants to pick a fight with the tallest guy there (and that's often me). That's one of the reasons I don't hang out in bars. ZZYZX 07:52, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Well that's great then, we'll just take your word for it as an unbiased tall person and (presumably) expert in social psychology. If you're usually the tallest guy in a bar, then whoever picks a fight with you will be by definition shorter. Logical right...? So perhaps being a tall man, you perceive anyone shorter than you as short, and therefore attribute their aggression to Napoleon Complex. Perhaps your need to assign labels and "complexes" to people is misguided. More studies would help shed light on the issue, not anecdotal reports from tall, short or average-height men. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:50, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

The linked study is pretty ridiculous and I don't see how anyone can think it's credible. The sample size is a whopping 10 tall guys and 10 short guys. It's obviously not a double blind setup. It's more of an amusing anecdote than a credible indicator of behavior. - Jason —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:40, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

I would say that the study is rediculous, it was only a 20 person sample and hardly realistic, as a tallish man (6ft 1in) I have to say that it is always the short men who are trying to pick fights as if they have something to prove, and they will usually pick the biggest guy in the bar that they can. My friends and I are all over 6ft, and it amazes us how sometimes a couple of men who are 5ft 6-7 ish will try to take on 7-8 of us who are all over 6ft to try and prove something, little man syndrome definatly exists, although i wouldnt say that small men are geneticly programmed to be more agressive, but it is a r

Perhaps you two just have "tall man syndrome" where you perceive every man that's shorter than you as being aggressive. I once met a girl who was a real bitch, I guess she had "Women's Syndrome." People overcompensate whenever they feel threatened, it doesn't just apply to short men. So why do we have a term that generalizes short men instead of addressing the problem of low self-image that causes people to overcompensate? It's easy to pick on short men, but the "Napolean complex" only addresses them and not the many other people who share similar problems. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:02, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

````ooze2b I'm not entirely sure that such a complex exists. The curious thing here is that the definition seems to shift. The studies mentioned in the article list men under 5'5" as short, whereas the gentleman above referred to men 5' 6-7". My own experience is that the really big guys never fight, and never have to because there is no question that they have superior strength. No one wants to mess with them. However, most of the really short guys just want to be left alone. I have observed that the guys in the middle are the ones who are always jockeying for position -- assuming that the smaller guy will knuckle under, always needing to prove their status. Perhaps the so-called "complex" is a behavior that occurs whenever a height differential exists. In other words a six foot guy in a room full of seven foot guys might behave in a similar manner to a 5' guy in a room of 6'guys. I have also observed that though "short" are rumored to "always" need "to prove something," this is usually a condition imposed upon them from those around them rather than something of their own.

That's funny. In my own experience I've never seen anything like that. I notice all guys are generally equally aggressive. And most people don't incorrectly assume that height is equal to strength. But perhaps its misconceptions like that that skew how we view aggression that is exhibited by men of different heights. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:51, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

The studies listed as supporting the idea of a "Napoleon complex" are pretty dubious. How does the Buunk study support an overcompensation by shorter men - at best it's only talking about (reasonable) "jealous feelings"? The van Vugt study does initially seem to address the issue, but the statistics in the actual scientific article look extremely suspect - at best the effect size is tiny. At the least, the Wikipedia article should better discuss the controversial/unproved nature of the complex.Sgtbilko99 (talk) 18:07, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

Napoleon's Height[edit]

The height in the article (5"3 or 5"6) is inconsistent with the information on the "List of common misconceptions" page.

   Napoleon Bonaparte (pictured) was not short; rather he was slightly taller than the average Frenchman of his time.[41][42] After his death in 1821, the French emperor’s height was recorded as 5 feet 2 inches in French feet. This corresponds to 5 feet 7 inches (1.69 m).[43][44] Some believe that he was nicknamed le Petit Caporal (The Little Corporal) as a term of affection.[45]  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:52, 1 January 2013 (UTC) 

Edit Summary[edit]

I'm sorry, what does being less aggressive in physical conflicts has to do with overcompensating in general? I'm about to edit the "Napoleon complex is a myth" part of the article, because I strongly feel the described results of the study has little relevance to the meaning of the term. I'd really have someone who know what he/she's doing to make educated correction of the whole page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:00, 11 October 2007 (UTC)


I was wondering if anyone had any research or insight into the idea that the "little man syndrome" is actually more likely to be something that's wrongfully attached to someone of short stature than it is to be rightfully attached. I don't have any research to the idea, but it seems to me like people with ill-concieved subconcious notions about what a short man's status in society should be would be more likely to apply the label to someone who didn't deserve it. For example, if you had two men who acted equally aggressive, the syndrome would still be used to explain the short man's over-agression because of the belief that the short man doesn't have the right to act agressively even if he's acting that way because of the same reason as the tall man. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:55, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

== Re: Backwards == There is a Cornell study that claims that men generally tend to overcompensate when they feel that their masculinity is threatened. I'd guess that shorter men could be more sensitive to this issue because of the general perception of height in most human cultures. If a man's height is often considered to be an indication of his masculinity, and this study is correct and can be applied in this situation, then perhaps there is some overcompensation taking place after all. Of course, as I mentioned in my earlier edit, this is all pure guesswork. Personally, I'm 184m(6ft) tall and have no idea what your typical shorter-than-average man can feel like, but if there's someone with a masculinity issue out there, I'd say that it's time for you re-evaluate your convictions. The age of huge hairy ape-looking guys has passed. Now it your intelligence, personality and social skills that matter. Being unconsciously predisposed to some physical trait that has no practical importance in today's society shouldn't make you feel inadequate or in any way less of a man. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:56, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

You missed the point because you don't have perspective on the matter. You say we don't act like cavemen anymore. Then why are physical attributes so important to people? Why do people associate better physical attraction to a better personality? An inferiority complex isn't about feeling inferior: It's about feeling misjudged about feeling inferior and wanting to prove your worth. And who can blame those who feel negatively judged because they are short or black or female or ugly or fat etc? There but for the grace of God go any of us. It's a cultural problem that belongs to everyone. That's what I meant when I said it was backwards. We're all making negative judgments about others and ourselves brought on by a life time of social conditioning. The inferiority complex doesn't belong to any one group and may not even exist. Instead everyone has a superiority complex or a desire to have one. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:50, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Older revision[edit]

Hello, unregistered user who did the revert to past revision edit.

It seems the current article is saying the Napoleon Complex/short man syndrome does not really exist, which seems highly POV imo since it is a recognized phenomena in Psychology.

The older revision is more neutral and simply descriptive. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:01, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

I can't find any contemporary scholarly texts in the fields of psychology and psychiatry that claim the Napoleon Complex exists as more than a social stereotype. I've found some references that address NC from an evolutionary perspective; I'll add this info to the article. --Muchness (talk) 11:39, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, I can't find any credible sources that claims that Napoleon Complex exist only as a mere stereotype. I think the evolutionary bit you added is excellent. If anything, it gives more credence that NC is a real phenomena, not just for humans, but in the general animal kingdom as well. I've removed a small section "In psychology, the Napoleon complex is regarded as a derogatory social stereotype." A source is given, but it's more or less unverifiable, since you need to register and I don't believe this complies with Wikipedia's guideline of citing source.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 06:53, 6 January 2008
There is currently no policy against using sources that require registration for viewing, provided the sources are verifiable and reliable (see, for example, prior discussion). There is a guideline that recommends against adding websites requiring registration to external links sections, but that is a separate issue unrelated to sourcing policies. --Muchness (talk) 07:40, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Followup note to say that in pop psychology, pop culture, and the news media it's certainly an established and recognized concept, and the article could do with more references to illustrate historical and popular usage. --Muchness (talk) 11:59, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Nicholas Sarkozy?![edit]

Now, how did THAT sneak in there? I've deleted his name, as it's obviously a joke at his expense. Snorgle (talk) 17:14, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

       Also, was Hitler really 162.5? All sources I've found states that he was around 174(average)  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:42, 8 February 2009 (UTC) 

Possible Mathematical Problems[edit]

I am wondering if the "In evolutionary theory" section ought to be flagged for factual problems.

Its example about swordtail fishes is very peculiar.

-The smaller fish attacks first 78% of the time -The first attacker loses 70% of the time

This may mean that the strategy is actually advantageous because it may give the smaller fish an 8% better chance. At the least, more specific and detailed information may be needed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nogburt (talkcontribs) 22:54, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

--Clarification-- In the following case this fish claim would be incorrect:

-Smaller fish attacks first 78% of the time -Larger fish attacks 22% of the time

-First attacker loses 70% of the time

-When the bigger fish is first attacker, it wins 100% of the time (22% of total fights) -When the smaller fish attacks first, it wins about 10% of the time (8 of 78, 8% of total fights)

Here, if the smaller fish attacks second, it has no chance of winning, whereas if it attacks first it has an 8% chance of winning. Assuming that a fight must happen, this would make attacking first a highly rational and effective choice for the smaller fish.

Although it is highly likely that the numbers don't line up as neatly as in this hypothetical, the numbers given with the claim that the behavior "seems irrational" do not substantiate the claim. --Nogburt (talk) 23:07, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Speculation on the cause of the modern perception that Napoleon was short[edit]

In the second paragraph introduces a few theories to explain why it is assumed that Napolean was short. I'd like to add my own theory. Average height has dramatically increased in Europe over the past few centuries. The average height for a male was 5'5 in early 18th century France, according to sources cited in the link below. Scientists suggest that Napoleon may have been about 5'6. Still short by modern European standards, but within a historical context, the reality is that he would've blended in pretty well with his peers. I guess now we'll have to produce another theory to explain his political ambitions, as if an insatiable thirst for power has ever been a rarity. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Special:Contributions/AMF (talk) 14:26, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

In the memoirs of Denis Davydov, the Russian partisan leader who also saw Napoleon face to face at Tilsit in 1807, he describes him as having dark blonde hair instead of the sterotypical black, and although he describes his height as being "two arshin, six vershkov" (168.91 cm), an incredibly accurate estimation, he still calls him short. I guess 5'6' ' isn't tall enough by Russian standards. (talk) 14:58, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

Napoleon nationality[edit]

This article mistakenly labels Napoleon as French, when he was actually a descendant of Corsican Italians. The fact that Napoleon was Italian by blood instead of French may have contributed to the fact that he was taller than the average Frenchman (talk) 05:49, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

This is slightly subjective - on paper, I'm British and South African, for example. If I was famous and died, people would probably refer to me as either of those two. But I only identify myself as South African because I migrated, I have no British genes. But I'm still technically British. I also know of a few former South Africans who have declared that they are British, for the sole reason that they have citizenship. In this way, Napoleon might have identified himself as French, he was a French emperor, that is no doubt.
If you can find a citation for the fact that Napoleon I was descended from Corsican Italians, you can add that info to the article, mentioning that this might contribute to his difference in height. --BurritoBazooka (talk) 03:53, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
I am in the process of reading a biography of Napoleon. He was born to a minor noble family in Corsica, not French at all. Soon after that Corsica changed hands from Italy (some Italian state that is, Italy as a country did not yet exist) to France. He was sent to military school in France as a young teenager. As a poor, awkward, skinny young officer he certainly had some issues. However professional psychiatrists don't diagnose people without seeing them in person so I will not either. :-) -Kitfoxxe (talk) 02:38, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Kitfoxxe, you say that you "won't diagnose people without seeing them" in the same paragraph where you jump to the conclusion that "he certainly had some issues". That's a contradiction in your logic; "just food for thought". In this context, any conclusion about his bloodline would not at all change how he was perceived by his peers and the conclusions which have already been documented thereof. Bderiso (talk) 03:27, 31 October 2015 (UTC)

It's well-known that Napoleon was a Corsican - our article says he was of Tuscan ancestry. However, nowhere in this article does it say that he was French. It does say that at 5' 6" he would have been taller than the average Frenchman, but that doesn't mean he was French himself - it just means that as emperor he was taller than most of his subjects. Richerman (talk) 11:09, 31 October 2015 (UTC)

Edit made[edit]

I removed the section on evolution. It only gave examples of various behaviors among species in the animal kingdom. The section made no reference to human behaviors. This article is about human behavior, not about animal behaviors. A discussion of animal behaviors and differences in behaviors that are correlated with physical size belongs in articles on animal adaptations. The evolution section was simply irrelevant. — Preceding unsigned comment added by NigelEd (talkcontribs) 21:54, 4 December 2015 (UTC)

how tall was Napoleon--what yardstick was used?[edit]

All agree he was measured at 5 feet 2-inches at his death. Owen Connelly (2006) has the best and most recent analysis. he says:"On the assumption that his corpse was measured with a French yardstick, which is longer than the British ... some historians have decided the Napoleon was 5'6" tall.... Since the French had been on the metric system since 1793, however, and since Napoleon had used all means to make the French convert to it, it is doubtful that his entourage carried a yardstick from the old regime. Thus, it is almost certain that he was measured within English yardstick." see his footnote Owen Connelly (2006). Blundering to Glory: Napoleon's Military Campaigns. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 7. Using the English yardstick gives 5 feet, 2 inches. The English had a base at St Helena for year & of course had English yardsticks. Did Napoleon's french doctor bring along an ancient french yardstick of the sort Napoleon had been a leader in rejecting since 1793? It's possible but historians have found zero evidence in its existence or why the doctor would have done such a strange thing. Rjensen (talk) 13:18, 12 June 2017 (UTC).

Why then are there instances such as the doctor Covisart in 1802 measuring Napoleon as 5’2” in French units? As well as several other times where he was measured by Frenchmen in France as 5’2” in French units. It is much more reasonable that his autopsy height was lost in translation to French units than that every french doctor who measured him in his youth was using English measurements.
why are you arguing with a recent RS? Hundreds of people saw Napoleon close up in person and it's the job of professional historians like Owen Connelly to sort out the evidence, not Wiki editors. Rjensen (talk) 22:09, 25 January 2018 (UTC)
You seem very determined to ensure that Wikipedia’s pages list Napoleons height as 5’2” due to the conjecture of one historian that they used an English yardstick to measure his height. Yet you fail to recognize the mountain of evidence against this. The historian Andrew Roberts, who also says Napoleon was 5’6” and has written a New York Times bestselling biography on Napoleon, personally laid down in the bed of Napoleon at Longwood House in St Helena and said it fit him perfectly, being that he himself is around 5’6”-5’7”. I personally have visited the army museum in Paris and seen exhibits with Napoleons uniforms that he personally wore and saw that they were fitted to a man of slightly under my height of 5’8”. Not to mention the fact that Napoleons son by Marie-Louise of Austria grew to be 6’ tall by the age of 17, unlikely for a boy born from a father that was 5’2”. So I’d recommend you look at the overwhelming evidence from every other source besides Owen Connelly and stop changing the wiki pages to reflect what seems to be a personal bias. — Preceding unsigned comment added by KZ28 (talkcontribs) 23:00, 31 January 2018 (UTC)
The French people did not like the metric system in the beginning so Napoleon reintroduced not metric units similar to the old ones but in a more practical relation to the new metric units. He reintroduced a toise to exactly 2 metres in 1812 (that was maintained until the end of 1839), a toise is 6 feet, that means a french feet was 1/3 of a meter and an inch 1/36 of an meter at that time. 5'2" would be 1 13/18 m or 1 ~ 1.722 m or 5' 7 13/16"--Blaubeermarmelade (talk) 12:57, 30 March 2019 (UTC)