As a journalist – one of those annoying people who picks up on bad grammar, and occasionally, points it out to the offender – I’ve personally always found intelligence to be attractive. For me, there is no bigger mood killer, than a Tinder date who writes: “Your very pretty”. I mean, apart from the blatant creepy undertones, the grammar! It kills me.
So, if I was a betting kind of girl, I would bet intelligence does, indeed, contribute to one’s overall attractiveness: a well-strung sentence can swiftly escalate a 4 (out of 10) to a strong 5, at least in my books. And, new research suggests I’m not alone here.
A recent study has revealed that being intelligent really does make you more attractive. Researchers from Western Sydney University asked 600 adults to rate the desirability of a series of hypothetical people. The first half of the study focused on heterosexual people, while the latter half was more inclusive of all sexualities. Each participant had to rate how desirable a person was for a short-term and for a long-term relationships based on descriptions they were given, which included how intelligent the person is (less smart than you, as smart as you, smarter than you), as well as how physically attractive they are (“insufficiently attractive”, “sufficiently attractive” or “abundantly attractive”).
The first half of the study, which focused specifically on straight people, had some interesting findings. Namely, that both men and women preferred equally or more intelligent partners when it came to short-term and long-term relationships. For men, women who were less intelligent than them were more appealing for short-term relationships than long-term. Which, perhaps unsurprisingly, suggests that men look for smarter women when they are wanting to settle down. For short term relationships, looks tended to hold the most weight but someone intelligent was still more attractive where there were two people who were the same level of physical attractiveness. “The less intelligent person is one to be avoided, as this person will come with considerable social and even biological costs, making less relative intelligence a deal-breaker,” the authors of the study write.
So basically, yes, smart is sexy! Which is great news for fellow single Grammar-nerds, like myself.
But there’s a catch (of course there is, right?). Sometimes, and I emphasise the sometimes here, being smarter can actually be seen as a threat. “A partner who was relatively more intelligent comes with [their] own set of costs like a greater probability of defection and even a sense of superiority, both which may also be seen as deal-breakers,” the authors write. In other words, being smart, you’re more likely to be snapped up by someone better, or your huge brain could just become annoying for someone trying to woo you.
Technically, I guess my constant correcting of my dates’ bad grammar could be seen as a tad annoying – but I’m pretty sure it must be the former.