Instead, it’s the findings of a new study, which suggests that men state their theoretical preference for intelligent women only to then change their minds in the cold light of the dating arena.
The study, which will be published in the November edition of ‘Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin’ but is already available to read online, concluded that rather than find smarter women attractive, men are actively intimidated by the prospect of an intelligent partner.
First, 105 men were asked to rank the merits of women who had out- or under-performed them in an intelligence test as a prospective romantic partner.
In this scenario, the researchers noted that the men who had been told they were about to meet a more intelligent woman “Distanced themselves more from her, tended to rate her as less attractive, and showed less desire to exchange contact information or plan a date with her.”
If men are honest, do they really prize intelligence over looks?
The key, according to the study, is that in the second scenario, the men felt threatened by the physical presence of a clever woman: “Feelings of diminished masculinity accounted for men’s decreased attraction toward women who outperformed them in the live interaction context.”
The research contradicts the common belief that men seek out intelligence in prospective partners because it means they will have clever offspring.