And, apart from their outer beauty, how do other things come into play, such as their level of kindness, sense of humor, and humility? Are highly intelligent women a turn-on or a turn-off for men? Or does it depend on how they use their intelligence?
Fortunately, some insightful research has been done on the topic.
In 2015 Lora E. Park et al. looked into the effects of psychological distancing and intelligence on men’s attraction to women. According to their research, shared attraction can emerge through a measure of psychological distance, which they define as “the subjective experience that a target is close to or far from the self,” in addition to perceived trait comparison between oneself and the other.
What they discovered is that with people who are distant psychologically, males felt more attracted to females who seemed smarter than them. However, when a person was psychologically closer, men felt less attraction to women who were more intelligent than them.
The experiment gives us a revealing look into how the process of social comparison interacts with psychological distance to influence the level of attraction between two individuals.
When coming to understand that many people see the ideal partner as someone who has more favorable qualities than them, the team was not surprised that males would be more drawn to psychologically distant people who show more intelligence than them.
However, in comparison, when looking at women who are psychologically nearer, the team notes that men may be more prone to relying on factors such as how manly they are feeling at a given moment when evaluating levels of attraction. The team found that men may be less drawn to women who perform better than them psychologically when it comes to conditions that make them feel less masculine.
Going further to show how psychological distance works, the team gives an example of a man going on a blind date with a woman who is said to be athletic and fun to be with. This all sounds perfect, but as soon as they meet to do a sport where the woman outperforms the man, whether it be in a fighting ring or at a mini-golf course, the man quickly loses interest in a second date.
So are men generally not attracted to women who are not intellectually compatible with them?
Fortunately, the answer is no. Attraction is about much more than just intelligence. The two sexes often possess complementary traits that facilitate collaboration and balance in a relationship instead of competition.
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