Real intelligence isn’t sexy

It is widely believed that Intelligence in humans was augmented through sexual selection. Intelligence is a much sought after trait in a hypothetical partner across human cultures. But are smart people perceived as such? Wit is widely considered a reliable indicator of intelligence. Are smart people wittier and thus more attractive?

Study by a group of researchers led by Julie Driebe and Morgan Sidari, casts doubt on the popular idea in human evolution. Participants in the study rated a prospective mate’s intelligence, funniness and mate appeal through video clips and speed dating sessions.

Both ‘perceived intelligence’ and ‘perceived funniness’ were found to be positively correlated with mate appeal (seemingly smarter and seemingly funnier means sexier). But, alas, measured intelligence is not correlated with mate appeal (actually smarter, not so much). In fact, more intelligent men were rated lower on sexual mate appeal.

Measured intelligence was not correlated with perceived funniness although it was correlated with perceived intelligence (smarter people are more likely to be perceived as smarter but not as funnier). According to the authors, the study suggests that “intelligence is not important for initial attraction”.

Read more about the study here.