Get Regular Updates!
|Being too intelligent could hurt your chances of finding love


Being too intelligent could hurt your chances of finding love

Being too intelligent could hurt your chances of finding love

Research shows we’re wary of dating people with exceptional IQs – but should we be?

Being too intelligent could hurt your chances of finding love

We want our partners to be smart … but not too smart.

That’s the finding of a WA study suggesting the most desirable IQ in a prospective partner is about 120.

It’s smarter than 90% of the population.

But the research found people with an IQ above 140 – or smarter than 99% of the population – were less desirable on average.

The cost of being exceptionally intelligent

Both men and women rate intelligence as one of the most attractive qualities in a prospective partner.

Studies have found it ranks second or third behind only ‘kind and understanding’ and sometimes ‘exciting personality’.

But UWA psychologist Associate Professor Gilles Gignac and his colleagues knew there was a limit to just how smart we want our partners to be.

And they wanted to find out why.

The team asked more than 450 people about the importance of different traits in a prospective partner.

They also asked people how interested they would be in partners with different levels of intelligence.

Gilles says some respondents did consider exceptionally smart people (99th percentile) more attractive than smart people (90th percentile).

Intelligence: one of the most attractive qualities in a prospective partner, to a point.

But enough respondents rated exceptionally smart people as less desirable for it to score lower on average.

“There were two key reasons for people reducing their rated attraction for the exceptionally smart person,” Gilles says.

“First, 60% of people were concerned that they would not be compatible with an exceptionally smart person.

“Secondly … 40% [of people] were concerned that an exceptionally smart person would be awkward socially.”

Stereotype or reality?

So are these concerns valid? Or are we dismissing exceptionally smart people as potential partners unnecessarily?

“If it is in fact just a stereotype, then yes,” Gilles says.

“Some people might be missing out on potentially good partners for themselves.”

Broadly speaking, compatibility does facilitate relationship development and satisfaction, Gilles says.

“When it comes to intelligence specifically though, intellectual compatibility does not seem to have much of an effect on relationship satisfaction,” he says.

Whether exceptionally intelligent people have poorer social skills is murkier.

“Some research suggests that it is only a stereotype that exceptionally intelligent people have social skill deficits,” Gilles says.

“However, more research with better quality measures of social skills needs to be conducted.”

The power of emotional intelligence

Gilles’ study was also the first to specifically examine the most desirable level of emotional intelligence.

Participants reported that both cognitive intelligence (IQ) and emotional intelligence were very attractive.

But emotional intelligence ranked slightly higher.

Emotional intelligence is nice.

“Given that we have failed to find an effect between IQ and relationship satisfaction, it seems that people should rate [emotional intelligence] much higher than IQ,” Gilles says.

“However, higher IQ is considered a biological indicator of good health/genes.

“So people may be choosing (perhaps unconsciously) high IQ for reasons independent of relationship satisfaction.”

People were also not concerned about exceptional emotional intelligence in the same way as exceptional IQ.

Instead, they rated partners in the 99th percentile for emotional intelligence most desirable.

So maybe hold off on the Mensa titles in your Tinder profile.

Show a little empathy instead.

Particle Puns


Creative Commons Logo

Republishing our content

We want our stories to be shared and seen by as many people as possible.

Therefore, unless it says otherwise, copyright on the stories on Particle belongs to Scitech and they are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

This allows you to republish our articles online or in print for free. You just need to credit us and link to us, and you can’t edit our material or sell it separately.

Using the ‘republish’ button on our website is the easiest way to meet our guidelines.


You cannot edit the article.

When republishing, you have to credit our authors, ideally in the byline. You have to credit Particle with a link back to the original publication on Particle.

If you’re republishing online, you must use our pageview counter, link to us and include links from our story. Our page view counter is a small pixel-ping (invisible to the eye) that allows us to know when our content is republished. It’s a condition of our guidelines that you include our counter. If you use the ‘republish’ then you’ll capture our page counter.

If you’re republishing in print, please email us to let us so we know about it (we get very proud to see our work republished) and you must include the Particle logo next to the credits. Download logo here.

If you wish to republish all our stories, please contact us directly to discuss this opportunity.


Most of the images used on Particle are copyright of the photographer who made them.

It is your responsibility to confirm that you’re licensed to republish images in our articles.


All Particle videos can be accessed through YouTube under the Standard YouTube Licence.

The Standard YouTube licence

  1. This licence is ‘All Rights Reserved’, granting provisions for YouTube to display the content, and YouTube’s visitors to stream the content. This means that the content may be streamed from YouTube but specifically forbids downloading, adaptation, and redistribution, except where otherwise licensed. When uploading your content to YouTube it will automatically use the Standard YouTube licence. You can check this by clicking on Advanced Settings and looking at the dropdown box ‘License and rights ownership’.
  2. When a user is uploading a video he has license options that he can choose from. The first option is “standard YouTube License” which means that you grant the broadcasting rights to YouTube. This essentially means that your video can only be accessed from YouTube for watching purpose and cannot be reproduced or distributed in any other form without your consent.


For more information about using our content, email us:

Copy this HTML into your CMS
Press Ctrl+C to copy

We've got chemistry. Want something physical?