Men may prefer brains over breasts but when it comes to actually dating an intelligent woman, blokes are more likely to run a mile. At least, that’s the findings of a new study into into what men find desirable in women. According to research published in the November edition of ‘Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin’ , men may claim to find a woman who is smarter than them more attractive.
But it seems they get cold feet at the prospect of dating such a woman in real life. The study, which was carried out at the University of Buffalo, California Lutheran University and University of Texas, Austin, was split into two parts.
First, 105 men were given a hypothetical scenario involving women who outperformed or under-performed them in maths and English and asked to rank them as a romantic partner.
Results showed the woman who outscored them proved the more desirable partner, as the study said: “Men formed favourable impressions and showed greater interest in women who displayed more (versus less) intelligence than themselves.” In the second stage of the experiment, the men were given an intelligence test and then told they were about to meet a woman who had either performed better or worse than them.
The men who were told they were to meet a woman who performed better than them “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”, the study found.
The authors concluded that “feelings of diminished masculinity accounted for men’s decreased attraction toward women who outperformed them.” The study seems to contradict previous research which suggests men are attracted to intelligence.
Evolutionary biologist Professor David Bainbridge claims men value intelligence over breast size when they are searching for a future wife. The Cambridge academic said brains suggest a woman is likely to be a responsible mother. It also indicates she was brought by intelligent parents and so was likely to be well fed and looked after in childhood, and so healthier.
In the study published in May, Professor Bainbridge wrote: “The main thing that men are looking for is intelligence. “Surveys have shown time and time again that this is the first thing that men look for. It shows that she will be able to look after his children and that her parents were probably intelligent as well, suggesting that she was brought up well.”