Is intelligence sexy?

 

In men, absolutely and all the time:

What role does a man’s intelligence play in women’s mate preferences? Selecting a more intelligent mate often provides women with better access to resources and parental investment for offspring. But this preference may also provide indirect genetic benefits in the form of having offspring who are in better physical condition, regardless of parental provisioning. Intelligence then may serve as both a cue of a mate’s provisioning abilities and his overall heritable phenotypic quality. In the current study, we examined the role of a man’s intelligence in women’s long- and short-term mate preferences. We used a rigorous psychometric measure (men’s WAIS scores) to assess intelligence (the first study to our knowledge), in addition to women’s subjective ratings to predict mate appeal. We also examined the related trait of creativity, using women’s ratings as a first step, to assess whether creativity could predict mate appeal, above and beyond intelligence. Finally, we examined whether preferences for intelligent and creative short-term mates shifted according to a woman’s conception risk. Multilevel modeling was used to identify predictors of mate appeal. Study participants (204 women) assessed the long- and short-term mate appeal of videos of 15 men with known measures of intelligence performing verbal and physical tasks. Findings indicate that both intelligence and creativity independently predicted mate appeal across mating contexts, but no conception-risk effects were detected. We discuss implications of these findings for the role of intelligence and creativity in women’s mate choices.

Source: “Intelligence and mate choice: intelligent men are always appealing” from Evolution and Human Behavior, Volume 30, Issue 1, Pages 11-20 (January 2009)

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