Men are more likely to rate women more intelligent than themselves as attractive if they have no chance of meeting them.
When they were asked to rate women who they thought they were actually going to meet they suddenly found them less attractive and preferred women who were less smart!
The American researchers asked 105 men to deal with a hypothetical scenario involving a woman who had either outperformed or under performed them in tests of maths and English. Asked to think of them as romantic partners the men ranked the women more highly if they were outperformed by them. “Men formed favourable impressions and showed greater interest in women who displayed more intelligence than themselves“.
In a second experiment the men were asked to complete an intelligence test before being asked to meet a woman who had either done better or worse than them on the test. The researchers found that men about to meet a more intelligent women “distanced themselves from her and tended to rate her as less attractive and showed less desire to exchange contact information or plan a date with her”
The psychologists thought that the mere presence of a more intelligent woman made them feel threatened and diminished their masculinity.
Other studies have suggested that men want clever women to increase the chance of having clever children with a better chance of the mother knowing how to care for them. But some studies have shown the opposite with men looking for less intelligent partners. This latest study seems to support the latter view.