Study says, men prefer less intelligent women.

Original Study: (Psychological) Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: Effects of Psychological Distance and Relative Intelligence on Men’s Attraction to Women (Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin)

Study Background

"In the study of 105 men, researchers laid out several scenarios. In the first, they told men that “a woman down the hall,” whom they never saw, either outperformed or underperformed them on an intelligence test. Then they were told to imagine this woman as a romantic partner. Unsurprisingly, the guys more frequently desired the woman who outperformed them.

However, in the second round, men were given an intelligence test and then told that they were about to meet a woman who had bested them on the same exam. Ah, yes. The mythic smart, successful, beautiful woman every guy supposedly wanted.

In the study, the men didn’t go after this awesome woman, according to lead researcher Lora Park, a professor in psychology at University at Buffalo. “When the woman was psychologically near — a real-life face-to-face interaction — men moved their chair further away from the woman, as an indicator of less interest in her, and reported less romantic attraction toward the woman when she outperformed versus underperformed him on a test,” she tells me." (Psychology Today)


When women were discussed "with psychological distance, men were more attracted to women who displayed more intelligence than they did. BUT when women were "real" and they were psychologically near, men were less attracted to women who were smarter than they were." (PsychologyToday)

“Specifically, when men were outperformed by a woman in a domain that they cared about — intelligence — they felt threatened, assessed by diminished self-ratings of masculinity, which then led them to act in a way counter to what their expressed ideal preferences were.” (Lora Park, a professor in psychology at University at Buffalo)


There are plenty of articles that contradict this theory, namely one on the "Clooney Effect" by researcher and biological anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher. "According to Fisher's numbers, men desire smart, strong, successful women; 87 percent of men said they would date a woman who was more intellectual than they were, who was better educated, and who made considerably more money than they did, while 86 percent said they were in search of a woman who was confident and self-assured." (PsychologyToday)


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