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Study: some people really do find intelligence sexy

In high school, it may seem like everyone wants to date the prettiest girl or the most muscular guy. But a small percentage of young people aren’t interested in looks at all – they find intelligence sexy instead.

A group of psychologists from the University of Western Australia decided to investigate the concept of sapiosexuality – attraction to intelligence – to see if it held any merit.

“The emergence of the popular culture notion of a sapiosexual, an individual who finds high levels of intelligence (IQ) the most sexually attractive characteristic in a person, suggests that a high IQ may be a genuinely sexually attractive trait, at least for some people,” the researchers wrote.

Using a questionnaire, they found that a small minority of people do find intelligence sexy. The questionnaire showed that for a little less than 10 percent of study participants, intelligence does play a major role in whether they are sexually attracted to someone or not.

More than 350 people between the ages of 18 and 35 took the questionnaire about romantic and sexual attraction. The researchers believe the results indicate that sapiosexuality may be a valid form of sexual attraction.

Even among those who scored high on the Sapiosexual Questionnaire, though, objective intelligence isn’t everything. In the end, the researchers found that even among those who find intelligence more important than appearance or personality, they’re attractive to a person’s other features, too.

Take the fact that, on average, those who were attracted to intelligence found partners with an IQ of about 120 to be more sexually attractive than those with a higher IQ.

The survey showed that, along with intelligence, participants valued kindness, understanding, and whether a potential partner was “exciting.”

“The results were interpreted to suggest that, for most people, a very high IQ in a partner (IQ 135 +) is not the most attractive level of intelligence, which may be considered supportive of a version of the threshold hypothesis of intelligence,” they wrote. “Finally, although sapiosexuality may be a genuine psychological construct, it appears to be influenced by non-intellective factors.”

The study has been published in the journal Intelligence.

By Kyla Cathey, staff writer

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