The Mating Mind

Do women find high  intelligence attractive?  Apparently not (MALE GENERAL INTELLIGENCE (G) DOES NOT INCREASE FEMALE SEXUAL ATTRACTION), as discussed on James Thompson’s blog.  I think I already knew this, to the extent that I thought Geoffrey Miller’s book on the subject a barrel of crazy.

I’m pretty sure that, on average, men don’t find intelligence attractive in women, either.  Although a few do (like me).

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105 Responses to The Mating Mind

  1. Boris Bartlog says:

    Assortative mating for intelligence seems to operate strongly enough that it’s not just a side effect of people pairing up based on SES, or going to the same college, or the like. While this doesn’t necessarily imply that intelligence is attractive to the intelligent, it at least suggests that anyone sufficiently less intelligent ends up being repulsive as a long-term prospect.

  2. I suspect people tend to be attracted to people who think and process similarly to themselves, so they tend to be attracted to people with similar IQs to themselves. But this is neglecting the effects of attractiveness.

  3. dlr says:

    I’m not surprised. I expect that average current IQ was more than adequate to meet all of the cognitive challenges that were present in our environment until very, very recently, possibly until the last 50 years or so, or even less.

    TODAY, NOW, in our current environment, it is a strong determinant of economic success. But, the cognitive challenges on the average farmer, or the average hunter gatherer probably weren’t that high. Probably a person of average or even below average IQ met or exceeded the requirements. Most decisions were made by appeals to customary practice and tradition, not by analysis. Other factors, like muscular strength, energy levels, competitiveness, leadership ability, etc, were probably more important determents of Darwinian success.

    • MawBTS says:

      TODAY, NOW, in our current environment, it is a strong determinant of economic success. But, the cognitive challenges on the average farmer, or the average hunter gatherer probably weren’t that high

      The issue is that in most environments it’s hard to make intelligence pay off to increase your fitness.

      Suppose a smart person develops a better hunting technique, and can catch more animals. Everyone else copies him. The benefits are now shared by everyone in the tribe. The fact that he was the first to do it doesn’t mean squat. Same with a farming technique, a block printing technique, or anything. Smart people invent them: people unrelated to them reap the benefits.

      Smart people are an asset to almost any society they find themselves in, but evolution selects at an individual level. If they don’t reproduce, their genes are going bye-bye. Doesn’t matter if they cure cancer, end famine, and find a way to give everyone 10 inch moneymakers. You reproduce or your genes die out.

    • Tom Bri says:

      In the modern world, failure is not often punished by death. In a hunter/farmer world, it easily could be. Death tends to reduce reproductive fitness. Death rates from violence/disease/starvation are very low in advanced countries, even for the stupid. Farmers in particular need long time horizons, careful planning and also habits of diligence, patience, and willingness to do hard work for a long-term payoff. None of these are necessary for the less intelligent in the modern world to survive or reproduce.

    • Dmitriy says:

      As was already, if you fail now (in finding shelter, food or a good country to live in), you usually suffer.

      Way back it resulted in near certain death.

      And, the factors which you mentioned (from muscular strength to leadership ability) do tend to correlate with cognitive ability.

      So I do not support your point of view.

  4. Abraham Lincoln says:

    Wouldn’t the instinct to mate for intelligence tend to clump together with intelligence itself? Also, doesn’t the normal distribution of IQ around 100 suggest some sort of historical optimum?

    • Abraham Lincoln says:

      Stupid questions.

    • caethan says:

      Also, doesn’t the normal distribution of IQ around 100 suggest some sort of historical optimum?

      No, the normal distribution of IQ is likely derived from the highly polygenic nature of IQ. Suppose you have 10,000 IQ-affecting genes, each with a positive and a negative variant. For simplicity, assume that the prevalence of each positive allele is the same and each gene is independent of the others. Then insofar as IQ is the results of additive effects from these genes, the distribution is binomial, and by the central limit theorem, is approximately normally distributed. The same argument holds even with varying prevalence and some slight correlations between genes as long as IQ is mostly controlled by additive genetic effects (which it is, narrow sense heritability is quite high).

  5. infowarrior1 says:

    Masculinity is not necessarily linked with intelligence after all.

  6. MawBTS says:

    This test looks weird to me. The women judged the men based off some pre-recorded videos? Doesn’t that cut large areas of intelligence out of the picture (conversational skills being a big one)? And even if women aren’t intrinsically more attracted to smart men, aren’t smart men likely to be more capable of meeting and seducing women? Real life isn’t a lab test: the sexes actually have go out and meet each other.

    Btw, Geoffrey Miller wrote a book with popular blogger Tucker “I fucked a midget bro” Max. Bringing some of that credibility evo-psych really needs.

    Added West Hunter’s referral code because Christmas is coming up and I’m trying to be a good boy this year.

  7. Answering a comment on my blog about the possible effects of menstrual cycles on the women making the judgments, I said I thought that particular factor unlikely, but added: “More problematic is whether the method picks up real choices. Need to see the procedures in more depth, which might come later.” Once the full paper is available we can better judge how well the procedure picks up real life choices about potential partners. The procedures look to me as if they ought to be picking up some intelligence-is-attractive effects, so their absence is puzzling. It could be that real conversation is required for women to judge that the men are really intelligent. On a broader front, perhaps intellectual men misunderstand and over-complicate sexual attraction, and can’t believe that women just respond to good looks, plus, after more extensive investigation, penile girth.

  8. Diane Ritter says:

    For some reason high g correlates pretty highly with low ‘social intelligence’. And low ‘social intelligence’ correlates highly with poor mating success. High g AND low ‘social intelligence’ also correlate pretty highly with introversion. The study controlled for introversion, so part of the correlation of high g with low ‘social intelligence’ was factored out, but probably not 100 percent of it.

    My own experience is that women tend to judge male sexual attractiveness to a high degree based on where the man seems to stand in the male pecking order. This can be done even if the man isn’t seen interacting with other men, based on things like perceived assertiveness/self confidence (someone low on the pecking order tends to get smacked down when they display ‘too high’ of a level of either by someone higher on the pecking order, and learns to adjust both of them downward until they are at the ‘appropriate’ level for their place in the pecking order). As far as I can see the male pecking order is only slightly influenced by high g except in certain specialized situations, where high g is obviously a very valuable asset, such as among the faculty of a university, or a research institute, or in a high tech start up.

    The current phenomena of assortive mating by g may be due to the fact that most people (duh) mate with people they come in contact with. And these days people of ‘mating age’ are systematically sorted into groups by intelligence, by several mechanisms: for instance, universities broadly select their student body based on g, based on gpa and sat scores. The g of the student body of Stanford is probably 1 standard deviation higher than the g of the student body of the average state university, which is probably 1 standard deviation higher than the g of the student body of the average community college, which is probably 1 standard deviation higher than the g of people who don’t go to college at all. I have no doubt that g is similarly sorted in high schools as well, by a different mechanism of course, by the indirect mechanism of their parents being sorted by income levels. g is, of course, highly heritable. In todays world, g is highly correlated with high income. And homes in districts with ‘good’ schools are notoriously higher priced than homes in districts with ‘bad’ schools. And, as far as I can tell, the determinate of a ‘good’ school vs a ‘bad’ school is nothing more than the average g of its student body.

    Thus, people today may not be preferentially choosing mates with similar IQ’s they may simply be choosing mates from among the (similar g) persons of the opposite sex in the group they have already been sorted into by external factors.

    • JayMan says:

      “For some reason high g correlates pretty highly with low ‘social intelligence’.”


      • I think there is an effect where people with High g and high ‘social intelligence’ aren’t perceived as Smart with a capital S.

      • Abraham Lincoln says:

        How about with perceived intelligence?

        • IC says:

          New York inmates defeat Harvard debate team

          But we all know whose IQ are higher here. Never trust your perception.

          • IC says:

            Only objective measurement like IQ test, or academic score will give your truth. Our subjective percerptions often are false. Winning a debate or arguments never means the winners have the truth. Mafia can win any argument since you can not refuse their offer.

            For long time, Darwin and Galileo were on the losing side of debate. But they represent truth.

          • Abraham Lincoln says:

            A. If I never trust my perception, I’ll never trust much of anything.

            B. That “group of prison inmates” are part of some sort of program which apparently has a 10% acceptance rate and a recidivism rate 35x lower than the prison general population.

            C. Shouldn’t I not be trusting my “we all know…” perception?

          • mico says:

            There’s a trend in US debate to give victories to teams of Official Victims for making incoherent SJW rants, presumably because the governing organisations have been taken over by leftwing radicals. Take a look at the live-action footage of these rhetorical giants from 00:40 and judge for yourself:

    • Anonymous says:

      Your paragraph on “pecking order” is 100% true and acknowledged by almost nobody (though most men and all women implicitly acknowledge it).

    • Erik SIeven says:

      I don´t buy in the concept “social intelligence” at all. What does it mean anyway? Understand what other people think? In the end nobody can really do that, and if they would that won´t be attractive. Attractive is somebody who makes a good own show, not somebody who is able to understand the show of someone else.

  9. Very useful comments, which leads me to add that when the paper is published we need to see if the lack of a positive association between perceived male intelligence and women’s choices may be due to a restriction of intelligence range in the videotaped male exemplars. A broad range of intellects should (probably) show an effect, but if the range is narrow, but basically high enough due to the selective sorting mechanisms you describe, then women raters may say “They are all bright enough, so I will go for one who is: good looking and outgoing, kind, relatively clean…etc

  10. Lion of the Judas-sphere says:

    I personnally don’t like women more intelligent that me, I need to dominate my partner, and I think the majority of men feel the same.

    Glad to have you back Greg !

    • Lion of the Judas-sphere says:


    • Anonymous says:

      I have probably had more women than anyone else on this blog – in the sense of social and sexual partners. .That’s what the statistics I see on the Web tell me. If there are some other guys who have been more active – my compliments. I’m not trying to compete or set a record. It just turned out that way.

      It may have been an early fascination with Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

      The point is that I don’t think I ever dated a woman who was smarter than I was, I tried but I failed. I was on, when it was a very new business, I only accepted women who had a PhD. Similarly I always was on the prowl for tall women but I never found one as tall as I am (I was 6’4″). I know that there are women taller than I am and smarter too. But I never met them.

      Rushton, just before he died, published the new research than men are about 5 IQ points smarter than women. When you combine that with the greater variance in men’s IQ, you find that there just aren’t many women with IQs over 140 or 150.

      Lion of the Judas says he needs to dominate his partner. That seems common. I read yesterday on some blog that 91% of all women want a dominant male. That blog was hardly an authoritative source but it sounds plausible. Fortunately for the continuation of the species dominating women is rather easy once you figure out to disregard the ‘sexually correct’ advice. There is an excellent explanation of this effect in one of the Richard Feynman autobiographical books.

      Feynman was not very successful with women in spite of his mighty brain power. Then he decided to emphasize being more dominant rather than being more intelligent. And Bob’s Your Uncle.

      • JayMan says:

        “Rushton, just before he died, published the new research than men are about 5 IQ points smarter than women. When you combine that with the greater variance in men’s IQ, you find that there just aren’t many women with IQs over 140 or 150.”

        Actually, it’s not clear men have a higher mean. The great male variance means more subjects missed in adult samples at the low end in males, artificially inflating the mean.

        That said, great male variance may help explain your experience.

    • Lion of the Judah-sphere says:

      LOL! This guy has stolen my identity over at the Pumpkin Person blog, and now he’s done it here too. Just want to put that out there, you can see we’re commenting from different IP addresses. Please ignore all comments with “Judas” in them.

  11. anon4321 says:

    “I think I already knew this, to the extent that I thought Geoffrey Miller’s book on the subject a barrel of crazy.”

    Yeah, I recall Miller suggests male mate choice for female creative/intelligent/humorous/musical display was a driving factor in increasing human intelligence.

    how can anyone read that and not laugh out loud? complete and utter insanity.

    • There is every kind of porn you can possibly imagine and hundreds more you wish no one ever had ever thought up yet there is no brainy porn or genius porn.

      • Toddy Cat says:

        Well, the musical aspect of things might have some truth to it. When I was a teenager, all the guys wanted to be in a band, and it wasn’t necessarily because they loved music…

  12. IC says:

    Physical attraction is not the same thing as long-term mating relationship. Short-term fling (including one-night stand) is more physical attraction based. Long-term commitemnt is more SES based, more g correlated.
    Also by James Thompson
    “Assortative mating is greater for intelligence (spouse correlations ~0.40) than for other behavioural traits such as personality and psychopathology (~0.10) or physical traits such as height and weight (~0.20). ”

    Personally, I had pretty and dumb girlfriends before. The relationship never last more than a year. We just have irreconcilable difference or do not see thing the same way.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is an excellent point. Actual reproduction seems to be mostly determined by relationship attraction as opposed to physical attraction, and that’s been true for at least the last couple of speciations.

      • Yeah. For blind physical attraction, I don’t think intelligence really factors in. But, you know, people like to talk to each other.

        • Sideways says:

          I say I’m attracted to intelligence, but am I really? Yeah, I wouldn’t enter a long term relationship with an unintelligent woman, but I can’t pretend I wouldn’t sleep with one. I just wouldn’t want to spend time with her out of bed.

  13. IC says:

    “I’m pretty sure that, on average, men don’t find intelligence attractive in women, either. Although a few do (like me).”

    That includes me too.

    I have a serious crush on one college classmate who was also number one in almost all courses we taken together. I only managed to beat her in one out of three courses. It is not love at first sight. The feeling developed after couples of years school together. Now I just believe she is most beautiful one. Admiration of her intelligence translated into sense of beauty. Well, beauty is in the eyes of beholder. However, she did not have same feeling for me. She currently is a proffessor at Harvard and married. When we had school reunion, my crush was still strong the moment I saw her. I presumed that her husband must be intellectually superior to me.

    As man, crush on one female will not stop me from dating others. My ex-girlfriend, a consultant at McKinsey Institute, labeled me “Manwhore”.

  14. JayMan says:

    For the record, I began the first phone conversation with my now wife by talking about fuzzballs. ‘Nuff said.

  15. Of course, it could all be due to epigenetics.

  16. BB753 says:

    Men are hypogamous by nature. We tend to mate women below us in looks, status and intelligence. The better to handle and dominate the fair sex. While women like to marry up, that is, they are hypergamous. Now, it would make sense for them to like intelligent men, or at least, men who are smarter than they are, men above them in every sense.
    But most of all, women like dominant men. Dominance does not come naturally to higher IQ men ( more than 130 IQ) and most lack natural social skills. Over 130, testosterone drops, so does athleticism, less facial symmetry, myopia increases, etc. In short, intelligent men are seldom attractive to the opposite sex, although a few are. Short intelligent men are truly screwed because height can turn out to be the only asset in the sexual market for high-IQ men. Or so I’m told.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Attraction has a lot to do with being “on the same wavelength.” If your intuitive conduit into the world is alike, you’re better able to perform your mating dances.

    So of course most women aren’t attracted to men who readers of this blog would consider intelligent, but this does nothing to argue against the general thesis that sexual selection played a crucial role in the evolution of human capacities.

  18. Extra Firm Tofu says:

    “I’m pretty sure that, on average, men don’t find intelligence attractive in women, either. Although a few do (like me).”

    Your influence is terrible, Greg- I once ball-parked my then-girlfriend’s IQ from her SAT scores, and our parents’ from other proxies, then ran us through the breeder’s equation. I still would have popped the question if the results had been different, but it was reassuring to know the kids would turn out fine. (Really, it tell me anything I didn’t already grasp instinctively).

  19. teageegeepea says:

    You’ve discussed the cancer that didn’t bark in blue whales before. Now there are a couple papers on its surprising absence in elephants.

  20. anon4321 says:

    It seems most of the commenters on this blog are really lucky that women don’t primarily select for high g.

  21. An initial finding, tentative, but…. Greg will comment sometime, and has already explained why epigenetic markers will have a hard time doing all that is expected of them.

  22. Greying Wanderer says:

    Thing is why would a woman be attracted to intelligence itself rather than the fruits of intelligence – like shiny objects?

    Would attraction to a zillion IQ poet (or scientist) starving in an attic be more or less adaptive than attraction to shiny objects? If less then it would make more sense for women to evolve to like shiny objects.

    • jawohl says:

      Reminds me of all the chicks on OkCupid describing themselves as “sapiophiles”. That doesn’t mean they’d get wet if they caught you reading West Hunter; it means they just don’t want you to be a crotch-grabbing simpleton. It’s a shit test like everything else. Absorption in intellectual minutiae had better be really important stuff and pay in hard cash, or they aren’t interested. Mainly because it means you’re not playing with them, but also indicates you’re unfit for the real world … even if what you’re working on, say some new industrial application of samarium, might streamline processes everyone depends on to go about their petty little lives.

      Intelligence is obviously maladaptive after a point. I mean in the sense of a supernormal stimulus; women just find it weird — which it is. But this means it’s industrial society itself that is producing the divergence: it produces ‘x’ highly intelligent men, only ‘y’ of whom will garner the capital necessary to interest women in reproduction. Meanwhile the women are … of more moderate intelligence, only indirectly involved in the maintenance of industrial processes, and still selecting men on the old, old bias for cruder abilities. So if your interest in genetics or poetry or whateverthefuck, the capacity for which your Noble Hwyte Heritage has bequeathed you, isn’t paying off — kiss your genes goodbye.

  23. sirtyrionlannister says:

    1) People on here should assess the relative importance of preferences and opportunities in mating behaviour. While some dudes are just looking at some marriage patterns and assortative mating outcomes, and they think that this kind of design gives us a direct of individual preferences, the reality is that a series of allocation of individuals across life-events generates an exogenous source of variation in opportunities, furthermore there is a condition-depend factor, where condition affects the choice of mate and allows us to identify the role of opportunities separately from that of preferences.

    2) In both women and men, mate choice biases focus mainly in physical attributes, and age.

    3) The role of individual preferences, however, is outplayed by that of opportunities. Along some attributes (such as I.Q, occupation, social status, etc) opportunities explain almost all the estimated variation in demand. Along the main mate choice attributes (such as physical attractiveness and age), the role of preferences is more substantial.

    4) Very few studies are able to isolate the influence of individual preferences from that of market availability. This is because most of the empirical analysis has been performed on data that contain only final matches between females and males (i.e., marriages and cohabitation). But a final match is the equilibrium outcome of a process that entails meeting and screening a number of potential partners, choosing one of them and, crucially, being chosen in return.

    5) A final match, therefore, is shaped by intereaction between the preferences of individuals on both sides of the market (demand) and the(un)availability of suitable partners (supply). All these aspects of the search process, however are not collected by standard surveys, and the separate identification of the effects of preferences and opportunities is not straightforward. So most observed patterns of positive assortative mating (i.e intelligence,education.) are driven by segregation rather than by individual preference.

  24. TWS says:

    I’ve seen extremely intelligent men who got a shit ton of tail. I have seen extremely intelligent men who got an average amount and some that were utterly shut out but their lives were messed up in other ways.

    I know a guy with a couple engineering degrees who keeps cheating on his wife/girl friend and has since middle school. He’s got several kids by three or four different moms. I think he was married to one when the kid was conceived and born.

    I used to work with a guy who had twenty or more kids by four mothers. He was in simultaneous relationships with all of them. He would buy houses then rent them to the mothers on section eight. He had a photo album with all his kids in it. Ugliest guy you would ever meet and a natural thief. Talked like a moron and had twenty kids before he was thirty.

    So who knows? The smartest man I ever knew died childless. His idiot cousin has at least five kids.

  25. Julian says:

    I remember there was an interview with Robert Plomin where he indicated people tended to be attracted to people of similar intelligence?

    btw. I recall you had some posts a while ago about anti-ageing efforts. A new book on the subject is reviewed here by Matt Ridley.

  26. epoch2013 says:

    I think nobody selects a mate for intelligence. But women certainly do drop good looking boyfriends because of stupidity. So while it may not be a criterium on which some one selects a mate it still has influence. Trust me: No bigger turn off than a beauty without brains.

    • BB753 says:

      If we’re talking evolution here and not dating advice, it doesn’t matter whether relationships last or not. It matters whether females reproduce with dull individuals or not. And they certainly do these days, more so than when female choice of partners were more constrained by society. Unconstrained, women get pregnant with guys they find attractive, not necessarily high IQ guys. Sexual selection favors physically fit, bold, good-looking men. How could it be otherwise? Let’s not deceive ourselves. Same as with men. Myself, I like good looking women. I do not select them for intellect. That does not mean I’d mate with a stupid woman. There’s a balance between looks and brains, then there’s availability, opportunity and one’s own desirability as a partner to factor in. In the end, character matters more to me than either intellect or looks in a woman, but that’s just me. Evolution does not care about morality or fairness. It’s who shows up generation after generation that matters.

      • epoch2013 says:

        “Unconstrained, women get pregnant with guys they find attractive, not necessarily high IQ guys.”

        From my experience modern women get pregnant after a while in a relation. After having a series of boyfriends, flings and one night stands they will get a into longer, more serious relationship and start having children. Personal observation.

        • BB753 says:

          It all depends on their impulse control and future time orientation. Perhaps as much as 50 % pregnancies are unplanned and the result of a fling. On the other hand, too much planning and thinking, and women no longer reproduce themselves.

          • epoch2013 says:

            ” Perhaps as much as 50 % pregnancies are unplanned and the result of a fling.”

            You got anything to back that up? From my own experience, I have a very diverse circle of friends, hardly two come up. Dozens and dozens are the result of relationships. A lot of those failed, but the pregnancies certainly weren’t unplanned.

  27. Jim says:

    How does the availability of effective contraceptives interact with sexual selection? Being the most successful in mating may not necessarily translate into reproductive success under modern conditions. An Amish guy may be more reproductively successful than a pickup artist even if the latter has many more sexual partners.

  28. sirtyrionlannister says:

    I will insist on the same points again:

    1) Intelligent men may marry more, or have more offspring, but of course, marriage frequencies or offspring rates say nothing about mating frequencies or mate preference (which is the only quantity of any biology concern).

    2) Some variables like partner education, intelligence or occupation play a minor role in shaping mate selection. People demand is driven by physical attributes and not directly by other variables, But by example, some variable may be correlated with physical attributes. I mean that two events or variable need not have direct causal connection (i.e. shaped by taste or preference), yet it may be wrongly inferred that they do, due to either coincidence or the presence of a certain third “common response variable”. So it happens that sometimes correlation can arise from the presence of a lurking variable (generally physical appearance, height, age…) rather than from direct causation. For example, some data show that age, height, and weight are systematically correlated to education and occupation. Therefore “Correlation does not imply causation”.

    3) Commenters should realize that mating requires meeting, and the pool of available interaction partners is shaped by various institutionally organized arrangements and these constrain the type of people with whom we form personal relationships. That’s why most people generally interact with people who are socially or culturally similar to themselves is that the opportunities they have to meet similar others are greater than the opportunities they have to meet dissimilar others.

    If we think in some meeting settings (work, school, the neighborhood, common family networks, and voluntary associations) and some types of homogamy (with respect to age, education, class destinations, class origins, and religious background), we will see how these contexts account for a sizable portion of the places where partners have met. And couples who shared settings are more homogamous than couples who did not share a setting. Note that schools promote most forms of homogamy, work places promote homogamy with respect to class destinations, or neighborhoods and common family networks promote religious homogamy.

    • anon4321 says:

      It’d be nice if you could just write a coherent idea in plain English instead of pasting together plagiarized portions of journal articles in a semi-sensical mash of cryptic garbage.

      Jesus, at least cite them.

      • sirtyrionlannister says:

        “instead of pasting together plagiarized portions of journal articles…”

        Look dude, since your lack of arguments, it seems you’re induced to criticize purely semantic nuances and your technique appears to be the refutation by disparagement and trolling other commenters.

        Yes, my writings are usually made by inserting plagiarized fragments from academic papers. Since my native language is not english, my time is spent more efficiently seeking alternative methods like this one to express some complex ideas, instead of using my limited free time to structure my thoughts on my poor english. So that reason is to articulate very SPECIFIC ideas in a CONCISE manner (so as to focus the reader’s apprehension), and without AMBIGUITY. So it relies upon academic jargon to convey precise information.

        If you don’t approve of this, then you would do well to IGNORE my comments

        ” in a semi-sensical mash of cryptic garbage.”

        Yes, of course your assessment consists of belittle without any argument to contribute to the debate. Honestly if you’re lacking of scientific reading comprehension it is not my problem. And your problem is a TRIVIAL one, style over substance is not only a MINOR grievance, but an IRRELEVANT one.

        Maybe if you would you use part of their time trying to understand the meaning of texts instead of wasting that time copying and pasting other people’s comments on google to try to locate possible sources, perhaps you would not have so many problems in understanding them.

        “”It’d be nice if you could just write a coherent idea in plain English…”

        I’ll tell you in plain English:Mate choice is based in sexual attraction, which is rooted in physical appearance. That is, women are attracted to the handsome, tall and muscular men. Women do not give a shit about a smart guy or other considerations. All things being equal, intelligence may have a slight effect on the selection. But intelligence, in the absence of a certain level of physical attractiveness is not worth a damn for them.

    • Lion of the Judah-sphere says:

      Didn’t you briefly have a blog about 1.5 years ago?

  29. I have posted up some extra details of the work from the author, Lars Penke, who was very pressed for time at the conference. Quick estimates of male intelligence made by the women correlate .34 with tested intelligence, and probably would be higher after a real conversation.

  30. IC says:

    Purpoose of sexual reproduction is getting rid of mutational loads through meiosis DNA recombination. Every thing else is secondary.
    Individual with lower mutational loads at first place will produce higher odd of gamete with lower mutational loads. Low load individual most likely displays fit physical features which is beauty in lay language. Mating with most physical fit person is critial for species survival. Two most physical fit mates relationship is celebrated by entire population for good reason. Ugly/beauty match is a waste for low load individual (beautifual or handsome one).
    When we try to find most beautiful one to mate, we are fufilling the duty of survival of the species. There is nothing wrong to be attracted to beauty. On top of that, SES and intelligence come into play. But survial of species over-riding every thing is rid of mutaional load and prevent mutational meltdown (extinction). Only after quarantee of species survival, other features like intelligence, personality and wealth can be selected on.

    • IC says:

      If the rule of sexual reproduction is to rid of mutational loads, many thing can be predicted on this rule. Hierarchial order of many factors contributing to mating success become clear.

      Higher SES vs beauty: physical beauty win over higher SES if there is conflict. This explained a pretty loser in society still get sex. A lower rank male in animal still get sneaky sex behind dominant male since other females are willing to take risk with low load male.

      Beauty vs intelligence: beauty win as this research indicate.

      Beauty vs personality: beauty win as many are willing to put up with such jerks or bitches.

      So in mating world, physical beauty overiding all other factors. After getting most beautiful persons you can, other factors come into play like social ranking, intelligence, personatliy ect.

      • IC says:

        Human intelligence might not be selected through mating choice but general downward social mobility of human society (general selection). Poor family just can not reproduce itself due to limited material. Thus high status (generally with higher intelligence) family produced the offsprings to fill the gap at lower end of society. Human might develop high intelligence unconsciously like most genetic traits.

        Moat genetic traits are products of unconscious natural selection.

      • Brabus says:

        So why the great majority of humans find european people more attractive ? Because they have less mutational loads ? I don’t think so, I think it’s more for cultural reasons.

        • IC says:

          There is cultural component in beauty like fashion industry. What interpreted attractive century ago might be considered disgusting today. When I grew up in northern Chinese rural area, rural people regards western round eyes(I have round eyes) as ugly as animal eyes (round). Only humans have oriental eyes which are considered most beautiful in northern China countryside. My grandparents in northern china rural region never accepted western looks and always call that looks ugly. Pale skin on the other hand is considered pretty in northern China since it is pretty common and nature in the region.

          Accepting western look started in Cities with more exposure to western media like movies and photos. No idea how far it has been penetrating into rural regions. As for my own sense of western looks started in urban high school with some ethnic Russian students in the same classes. These poor Russians were bullied as “ugly”. But I have good relationship with them with sympathy since I was bullied for my own round eyes in the countryside. With more and more Western media exposure, I finally no longer feel Western looks ugly but still have no sense of western beauty yet. Basically I cound not tell the difference between western beauty and western ugliness. The truth is that I only start to differentiate western beauty and ugliness after immigration into USA with enough exposure of various kind of western looks. Ironically, western women considered me more appealing than other Asian males due to my own very ‘ugly’ round eyes.

          I think that sense of beauty is ability to figure out the “averageness” for a particular population. You only develop such ability after enough raw data stored in your brain. The very averageness is mostly likely indicating low mutational load for that partifular population. This is hypothesise, not truth yet. More research is needed.

          • IC says:

            This learned ability to judge fitness can even be applied to different species. Farmers/breeders are able to pick the most fit individuals from different species for reproduction. I learned to do that for chickens and pigs after I saw enough of them as child who were taking care of them on the farm.

          • brabus says:

            I am not sure about the meaning of “mutational load”. Does it mean than one individual with a higher mutational load have more mutation ? But how does it work ? Does it mean the germ cells who gave to this individuals had more mutation than the germ cells who gave an individual with a lower mutational load than the first one ?

            Mutational load is only about mutations who are own to an individual, or can we have an accumulation of mutational load over generations ? I would find weird the last option because all the actual living organism are an accumulation of mutational load.

            And if mutational load is only about mutations who are own to an individual, does it mean there is no population difference in mutational load ?

            Even if I understand your point, I have difficulty to grasp the whole concept of mutational load, how it work.

          • Sideways says:

            Yes, brabus, we accumulate mutations over the generations, many of them harmful but not fatal. They reduce fitness.

            But his idea is stupid, as bacteria didn’t go extinct a billion years ago

          • IC says:


            Living organism build up mutations over its lifetime due to radiation, chemical toxicity, DNA repair/replication mistake etc. If there is no way to get rid of mutations, the result is mutational meltdown (extinction).

            Simple organism like bacteria or virus like bacteriophage MS2 consists of only 3569 nucleotides. There is mathematical odd one out of 3569 MS2 has perfect zero mutational loads if these organism receive huge radiation treatment. These lucky ones serve as progenitor for future population. No need for sexual reproduction.

            For complicated organism like human or trees, the genomes are too large to produce such lucky one (super low odd, just for one chromosome is 1/249,250,621. there are total 23 of them). Different mechanism is needed to produce zero or low mutational future generations. Each individual already has two set of genes. By reshuffling these genes through a process called meiosis DNA recombination, there is chance to produce such lucky combination lower load gamete haploid, other haploid gamete will end up with higher loads which died in ovary or testis. So gonads serve as graveyard for haploid gamete with higher loads. Both female and male provide haploid gamete with relative lower loads to produce future generation. Julian O’Dea Australian scientist has published this with math model to predict reduction of mutational load in sexual reproduction. Julian O’Dea



            The latter is titled, The Selfish Chromosome: Why Sex Evolved.

            In my opinion, this guy deserves Nobel Prize. But Nobel committee are not made up with not very bright people.

            Well, stupid people are majority. These morons judge others with their own perception. Anything beyond their understanding is called `stupid’ so they can feel superior. Ignorance is bliss (Dunning Kruger effect).

            This post is intended for intellectually capable. If you do not understand, I am sorry.

    • anon4321 says:

      “Individual Aesthetic Preferences for Faces Are Shaped Mostly by Environments, Not Genes.”

      • kn83 says:

        That study is a load of BS. It fails to explain the virtual universal preference of symmetry in faces across cultures throughout history. Also, it doesn’t address to zero shared-enviroment influence on aesthetic pleasure.

  31. szopeno says:

    I am not sure about other guys, but I was no so much attraced to high iq women, as rather repelled by low iq. That is, I’ve never thought “damn, she is intelligent, this is so hot!”. But I often thought “damn, she is so hot.. wait… hwo can be so dumb? How in earth I could’ve thought she was intelligent?!”

    • Toddy Cat says:

      I remember my mother telling my about dating a really handsome guy back in the late ’30’s, whom she dropped like a hot potato when it turned out that he didn’t know whether Franklin Roosevelt was a Democrat or a Republican. Intelligence may or may not be sexy, but it looks like flat-out stupidity may be a turn-off, for both men and women.

  32. LOLMAN says:

    But Geoffery “mangina” Miller said that the male brain has been shaped by female choice like a peacocks tail!

  33. jef says:

    “Although a few do (like me)”. You saved your domestic butt with that sentence.

  34. IC says:

    There is no denial that females are attracted to wealth (or resource in animal world). It is no surprise that cosmetic for males are wealth to enhance their reproductive appeals. There are so many paths to wealth which include g factor, luck, special rare talents ect.

    So women might not be attracted to g factor per se. But they love the result of it. Displaying wealth with fancy cars, big house, trumpy behavior is intended to catch females eyes. These researches isolated intelligence too far detached from women really look for, thus weak correlation is end result. Indeed, no matter how smart you are, your smartness is meaningless if you can not deliver the result. If you are so smart, why aren’t you rich? So females are looking for objective results for g factor. That is income/wealth.

    • IC says:

      Income and IQ have moderate correlation at 0.4 p.

      Wealth and IQ almost have no correlation (very weak).

      Wealth is estabolished/secured resource like property, ownership of luxury materials, business ect which men use as signals showing off to females. If men instinctly want to show off their wealth to women, thus wealth must be instinctly attractive to females in general. Instincts are genetically determined behaviors (or genetic traits). This chart explained very weak appeals of intelligence to women due to very weak correlation between intelligence and wealth. The weak correlation is likely due to intelligence obscured by significant numberous other non-intelligent ways to achieve wealth like luck, special talent for specific situation(like baseball players), crime, inheritance ect. If research can control all other non-intelligent factors in wealth building, the wealth correlation with intelligence might go up.

      Don’t blame females as gold digger. Biologically they need to secure resource to quarantee the survival of their offsprings with partners who can provide such edge over other males. It does not matter how males acquire those wealth through intelligence, special talents for specific situation, crime, luck, inheritance, ect. Only genetic factor among those wealth building mechanism is intelligence which is weak but consistent in all situations and all the time. In order to secure resource, females unconsciously help to select intelligence as byproduct of human evolution in human society.

  35. source of data, please?

  36. mico says:

    I don’t find intelligence particularly sexually attractive but I would find living with a woman much stupider than me very annoying after a few months. It greatly limits the range of experiences and understanding that we can share. I’m attracted to a woman no less than 1 standard deviation lower in IQ than me in the same way I’m attracted to a woman who still has all four limbs. It’s not much of a plus, but it’s basically a prerequisite.

    In the other direction I suspect the problem is even greater because women are more interested in that emotional connection than men and also usually want to be able to look up to their man, which is hard if she is able to easily run rings around him in conversation, finances, and most interactions with authority.

  37. chris says:

    Women find power in men sexy and intelligence can be very useful in obtaining power.

    Also, a dumb man in power wont be in power for long.

  38. JayMan says:

    Being a dad means having a lot less time. I can only imagine how much time I’ll have once our little girl arrives in February.

    In any case, I meant to leave these here earlier.

    First of all, the single best study on the matter (large twin sample, blinded raters) found that IQ is in fact uncorrelated with facial attractiveness:

    No relationship between intelligence and facial attractiveness in a large,
    genetically informative sample

    There also isn’t much indicating that facial attractiveness is associated with health, other than one study using the Add Health data (in which the interviewers also rated attractiveness, introducing bias). Quite likely physical attractiveness, especially facial attractiveness, is just another display item – like a peacock’s tail. People like it because they (and other people) like it.

    Still, if intelligence per se was attractive, wouldn’t it become genetically correlated with IQ over evolutionary time? Perhaps this is a clue.

  39. Women are attracted to high-income men, and income correlates with intelligence. QED

  40. Valknut says:

    Some aspects of intelligence can attract women. Humor, as an example, can be highly attractive to women. It is difficult to be both dumb and funny.

    As Robert Mariani said, income can be correlated with intelligence.

    I also think that intelligent women would also prefer an intelligent man, in much the same way that many women would not want to select a male that is shorter than them.

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