Science Determines Men Don't Like Women Who Are Smarter Than They Are

Men are attracted to the idea of dating intelligent women—but they don't actually like the reality of it.


That's according to researchers who carried out several studies of what men find desirable in women. The findings, to be published in the November edition of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, concluded that men find the propect of dating intelligent women intimidating. 

The study, carried out by researchers the University of Buffalo, California Lutheran University and University of Texas, Austin, posits that men’s attraction to certain traits in women can be directly affected by how realistic a romantic prospect their potential lover is.

Broken into two parts, 105 men were first read a hypothetical scenario involving a woman who either outperformed or underperformed them in a math or English course and then were asked to imagine them as a romantic partner. The men ranked a woman who outscored them as a more desirable partner, with the study stating that “men formed favourable impressions and showed greater interest in women who displayed more (versus less) intelligence than themselves.”

However, the second part of the study – when men were asked if they would date such a woman in real life – showed that the men got cold feet. “[Men faced in this real-life scenario] distanced themselves more from her, tended to rate her as less attractive, and showed less desire to exchange contact information or plan a date with her."

While the authors behind the study caution that more experimentation may be needed to confirm the conclusion, they do believe that “feelings of diminished masculinity accounted for men’s decreased attraction toward women who outperformed them.”  

Who knew masculinity could be so fragile?

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Close

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.