Intelligence can be detected but is not found attractive in videos and live interactions

Julie C. Driebe*, Morgan J. Sidari, Michael Dufner, Juliane M. von der Heiden, Paul C. Bürkner, Lars Penke, Brendan P. Zietsch, Ruben C. Arslan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Self-reported mate preferences suggest intelligence is valued across cultures, consistent with the idea that human intelligence evolved as a sexually selected trait. The validity of self-reports has been questioned though, so it remains unclear whether objectively assessed intelligence is indeed attractive. In Study 1, 88 target men had their intelligence measured and based on short video clips were rated on intelligence, funniness, physical attractiveness and mate appeal by 179 women. In Study 2 (N = 763), participants took part in 2 to 5 speed-dating sessions in which their intelligence was measured and they rated each other's intelligence, funniness, and mate appeal. Measured intelligence did not predict increased mate appeal in either study, whereas perceived intelligence and funniness did. More intelligent people were perceived as more intelligent, but not as funnier. Results suggest that intelligence is not important for initial attraction, which raises doubts concerning the sexual selection theory of intelligence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-516
Number of pages10
Issue number6
Early online date31 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Intelligence
  • Mate choice
  • Sexual selection


Dive into the research topics of 'Intelligence can be detected but is not found attractive in videos and live interactions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this