A research study found men like the idea of dating intelligent women— but don’t actually enjoy the reality of it, reports Independent.
Men may deny this and profess that they are attracted to smart women, but when you look at the dating scene, the reality tells a different story. After all, it’s a fact that many smart, highly educated professional women struggle to get a date.
It appears that men prefer dating women who aren’t as smart, who don’t have admirable careers and can’t be said to be their “equal.”
Science supports this view. Science also hints at a disturbing reason for this, which we share below.
The research study that found the truth about men and intelligent women
Lora Park, a social psychologist at the University of Buffalo, and her colleagues Ariana Young and Paul Eastwick, studied the reactions of men to women they experienced as smarter than them and found an interesting phenomenon.
They found men were attracted to such women at a distance, yet found them less attractive, both physically and emotionally, when they were in closer contact.
The study was published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and concluded that men find the prospect of dating intelligent women intimidating.
Broken into two parts, 105 men were first read a hypothetical scenario involving a woman who either outperformed or underperformed them in a Mathematics or English course and then made 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 favorable impressions and showed greater interest in women who displayed more (versus less) intelligence than themselves.”
However, in the second part of the study the men were put in the same room with a female who was a “confederate” or “plant” of the team. She supposedly took the test with the men.
Afterward, test “scores” were distributed, and in the final moments, the young men were asked by testers if they found the young woman attractive and would be interested in dating her?
The men who believed that the woman in the same room with them outperformed them rated her as less attractive and showed less desire to exchange contact information or plan a date with her.
In other words, faced with the reality of an intelligent woman in their presence, the men got cold feet.
From these studies the conclusion is that men are genuinely attracted to women who appear smarter or more competent at intellectual tasks than they are, but when push comes to shove, when faced with such a woman, they’d rather not go out with her.
The reason why men are intimidated by intelligent women
Psychology Today reports on a third set of experiments which revealed much the same data, but also produced a possible explanation for why men like smart women, but hesitate to date them.
“In those tests, male participants were asked to evaluate their sense of masculinity in the situations in which they had been outsmarted or outperformed in front of a woman who might have been a potential romantic interest.”
The scientists came to a disturbing conclusion.
Park and her colleagues concluded that there may be something about being in physical proximity to someone who is outperforming him that decreases a man’s sense of his masculinity.
“Thus, [the researchers] suggest, when a woman is nearby, some men may actually feel her competence as a threat to their masculinity, whereas this is not the case when a woman is distant,” states Psychology Today.
So, faced with an actual woman who knows her stuff a man can’t overcome his feelings of inferiority and ask her out for a date.