Men Are Terrified Of Smart Women, Science Confirms

Men Are Terrified Of Smart Women Science Confirms

Thanks, patriarchy!

What’s more terrifying for men than an alien wanting to prod and probe them? Anybody? You know the answer: A smart woman.

Yes, science has finally confirmed what we’ve all long suspected: Men find intelligent women scary. Oh, wait there’s more! Science has also discovered that when a woman does something better than a man, his feelings of masculinity diminish.

Related: 20 Brutally Honest Things Women Turning 40 Want All Women In Their 30s To Know

Men Are Terrified Of Smart Women, Science Confirms

Why men are terrified of smart women?

A recent study called “(Psychological) Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder” — carried out by Lora E. Park, Ariana F. Young, and Paul W. Eastwick — found that while men like the idea of dating a smart woman, when it comes to the reality of it, they’re not interested. And when a woman is better at a task then they are, they feel like less of a man.

In the preliminary survey of the study, 86 percent of men said that they would feel comfortable dating someone smarter than them. In the series of experiments that followed, the researchers tested the validity of those claims.

In the first version of the study, 105 undergraduate male participants read a hypothetical scenario about a woman who did better than they did on a test, and then the participants were asked to rate how romantically desirable the woman seemed. In the second version, the researchers had 151 male undergraduates take an intelligence test and then asked they if they were interested in meeting the woman down the hall, who had either scored higher or lower than them on the test.

Related: Women, The Smarter You Are, The More Likely You Are To Be Single

Both of these studies found that when men imagined a hypothetical woman who was smarter than them, or only knew of the woman in an abstract sense, they were interested in meeting or possibly dating her. Apparently, a smart woman is great in theory but not in practice.

In the next two versions of the study, the male participants came in contact with a woman (who was associated with the study) who either had done better or worse on an I.Q. test than they had. After the participants met the woman, took the test while seated next to her, and heard both their scores read aloud, the male participants were instructed to move their chairs across from the woman.

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The participants were then instructed to take a survey about their first impressions of the other — specifically how attractive and desirable they found each other. The researchers were interested in the actual physical distance between the two chairs as the true measure of how attracted the man was to the woman.

Not surprisingly, the men who were partnered with a woman who scored higher on the intelligence test felt the need to physically distance themselves from her when moving their chairs. They also tended to rate the woman as less attractive and dateable than the men who interacted with a woman and scored worse than they did.

The last two versions of the study (six altogether) found that men were less interested in dating and interacting with a more intelligent woman when she was face-to-face with them.

However, in the fifth study, when she was psychologically distant (allegedly in the next room), there wasn’t any difference in the men’s inclination to date or interact with her, no matter how well she scored on the test compared to them. In fact, the men who never saw the woman showed a slight tendency to want to interact with a woman who was supposedly smarter.

The findings were summed up this way: “[The] six studies revealed that when evaluating psychologically distant targets, men showed greater attraction toward women who displayed more (vs. less) intelligence than themselves. In contrast, when targets were psychologically near, men showed less attraction toward women who outsmarted them.”

Men are terrified of smart Women!!!

Scientifically speaking, that’s pretty sad.

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Written by Christine Schoenwald
This article was originally published on, click to view the original article here.

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113 thoughts on “Men Are Terrified Of Smart Women, Science Confirms”

  1. Avatar of Gabriel Ainda

    And you needed science for this? Well I hope many women will understand it, and they can understand If you’re a smart women, be prepared with enough cats for your loneliness. This is not that men are bad for not wanting to marry succesful women, this is biology and as you said, science proves it.

  2. Avatar of Rob

    This is a pretty blanket statement. “Science confirms that men are terrified of smart women” is such a loaded, unscientific statement that it disproves itself. Like all demographics, there are trends and there are exceptions to the rule. Balanced, grounded, well-rounded men will prefer a smart woman. Dumb, simple-minded, meat-headed men will not.

    It does no good to propagate these anti-male sentiments. Just as it does no good to propagate anti-women sentiments. Smart people (of both genders) are going to be dissatisfied with the “average” partner. Smart people need to seek out like-minded individuals. Feeling superior or like “no one will ever understand me” is not a healthy mindset.

    1. Avatar of Marcus Merrin

      Agree. “Science confirms” as if “Science” is itself an authority. Good science journalism would have dictated a statement like “Study suggests some evidence that…….”. But of course that wouldn’t be sensational click-bait would it? And sensational click-bait trumps the truth every day in internet “journals”.

  3. Avatar of Kris Yamashita

    Haha no suprises there. Sexual attraction and emotional/intellectual connection can exist exclusively. Would be interested in the variances of IQ scores and characteristics for the subset that are not intimidated by an intelligent woman. Lol.

  4. Avatar of

    Some men are threatened by this kind of intelligence due to learned behavior. Our society constantly reinforces a patriarchal pyramid. We are bombarded by it now on every level. Thankfully, men and women are challenging this and there is a new revolution of thinking.

    It takes proactive evolution in both men and women to overcome this. Men and women have to stop perpetuating certain negative stereotypes that enable this kind of mentality.

  5. Avatar of

    When are people going to realise that although intelligent, technologically advanced etc – that we are still basically animals governed by natural instincts of survival and procreation. The highest order of primates on the planet, social creatures in an ever more complicated and complex society still fighting basic urges to attain dominance over both our surroundings and fellow animals. Nature only sucks if you fight it.

  6. Avatar of Shadrias Thompson
    Shadrias Thompson

    Since most people overestimate their own intellectual capacities whilst alternately misconstruing that of others, what does it matter?

  7. Avatar of Bernard Codrington.
    Bernard Codrington.

    There is absolutely nothing scientific in this paper not even the language. The description of the experiments are also very imprecise. What exactly was the objective? did the experiments really test it?

  8. Avatar of Yorsh

    I still need to read the papers, but as far as is stated here it doesn’t seem to be a good conclusion from the experiment. This results show that men are uncomfortable around a person who is better than them in some test, in a situation when you are being evaluated; it obvious that you are going to feel embarrassed…. If you want to restrict the result to women, you would need to try with male candidates meeting males. Really big conclusions from a poor methodology.

  9. Avatar of Wisc Dude

    I think part of the problem is that they used male undergraduates as the test pool and then generalized the results to all men. My experience is only one data point, but I know a lot more men over 30 who appreciate smart women than men in their early 20’s.

  10. Avatar of Toni Segarra

    We think that we are civilized, not wild, but we do that right? Only the life of put us to the test, when a challenge comes to us to show that we are really civilized, or not; Thus what we think and believe has no value.
    We still have the animal part in our lives. Only it should something happen to make that animal part is active. Is there something more animal sex, the prolegomena, their ritual, their ways? Yes, when the sex, the animal does; Thus sex also requires strength and stamina, energy, physical.
    Our conditioning animal, always active in us, not consent that male and female roles changing, alter in its originality. So feminine women, which eroticizes in her femininity, can not be superior to men. If it is higher, the total, including the sex connection is not possible there is frustration, since man cannot fully realize the role of male.
    I.e., when women are in their behavior more females, in the classical sense, males are also so. That is a fact. For this reason, it is that married men feel the need to have sex with prostitutes; Therefore, do not care to assume the female role, female, flattering and consenting to what the wives do not with their husbands or partners. And, that also happens to reverse with women who have husbands, which do not assume the role of male, and go to the rent boys make them feel entirely women, females.

  11. Avatar of Michael James

    Hmm. The studies’ small sample size suggests to me that the conclusion is something of a gross generalization. Speaking from experience, I had an affair with my French professor when I was an undergraduate. She had three master’s degrees and spoke seven languages. A couple years later, I was romantically involved with my Aesthetics (Theatre) professor, who not only had a PhD from The Sorbonne, but was a staunch feminist to boot. Admittedly, these trysts were relatively short-lived, however, in anticipation of those of you who are inclined to wag a finger and exclaim, “Aha! Another one of those love ’em and leave ’em types, ” let me just say that there was this one special woman with whom I was in love for eight years and she earned a PhD in Linguistics from the U of T. To me, a woman who possesses talent, intellect, heart/or a certain joie de vivre is irresistible.

  12. Avatar of Chris Brown

    More FUD. Smart women tend to have a big chip on their shoulder so men don’t bother to engage. It has nothing to do with fear. In fact, most men prefer a woman with intelligence – someone more interesting that reads or studies rather than simply watching TV or shopping.

    1. Avatar of Christopher Evans
      Christopher Evans

      That was my exact thing too. The moment I thought of a woman more intelligent than myself, and not trying to toot my own horn but she’d have to be pretty smart… the ones I’ve met that are more intelligent tend to be smarter, and then either be bitchy or have zero social skill.

  13. Avatar of Lydia N

    This article is nothing but sexism against men pretending to be valid scientific research. It takes no other factors into consideration such as if the couple was initially attracted to each other. If, they then did a test, and the guy no longer wanted to date the woman because she scored higher, then I would give the study a bit more credibility. My husband loves me because I am intelligent. We met online in a chat room and he says the first thing that he noticed was my intelligence and he was attracted to me, and at that point he hadn’t seen my picture yet. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d feel a little embarrassed someone scored higher than I did on a test, male or female. That’s just human nature.

    1. Avatar of Christopher Evans
      Christopher Evans

      You hit the nail on the head there, Lydia. Yeah, if you basically get shamed in front of someone of the opposite sex right there in the classroom, it makes it a little harder to want to go and hit on them. Hard to break the ice after some study basically just called you an idiot right in front of the other person.

  14. Avatar of Basalat Raja

    I can believe it. The smarter you are, the easier it is for you to be truly nasty to someone you know well. This is what men don’t like about women who are smarter than they are. Of course, it also happens in the reverse, but women are less likely to use the potential of psychological torture as a factor when selecting a mate and are better able to use more intimate relationships with their children as a shield against it.

  15. Avatar of Allison Moss-Fritch
    Allison Moss-Fritch

    I’m a “smart woman”; have been all my adult life. I”m a retired attorney and judge, have a teaching degree as well and excel at most of my work related tasks. Was a pretty young woman…a model in my youth. (now in my middle 60’s)….I can tell you that YES, most guys will lip service dating a smart woman…but feel the need to man ‘splain life to her. Even if you don’t brag about your abilities, even if you carefully downplay your “wins” in life…..guys don’t like knowing that you are obviously on par or better with them.

    Sadly, this is backed up by years of anecdotal support as well as science….Even my sons feel more comfortable letting Dad, (who has never been good at calculus) help with homework rather than MOM who is good at and enjoys higher maths.

    1. Avatar of Lydia N

      Maybe there are other reasons besides just being male. I am smart, but so is my husband. I’d say he’s smarter than I am. But does he explain things well? Not always, which is why I have been the homework helper and driving instructor for the kids. Not to mention, I have more patience.

      In my life experience, I have found that sometimes when someone is good at something or understands a subject well that he/she might explain something at what he/she thinks to be a basic level but is still above that person’s head.

      Being an accountant, I have a knack for being able to explain things so non accountants can understand. I’m also a model, btw…some commonality there. 🙂

    2. Avatar of Christopher Evans
      Christopher Evans

      Maybe it has less to do with being a male, and has more to do with you being a person who likes to flaunt their wins and throw things in people’s face. If you weren’t that person, you wouldn’t have said what you just said. You basically said that you feel like you should be helping your kids with the math, because your husband is dumber than you are. Who likes that? Nobody!

  16. Avatar of Lawrence Pellino
    Lawrence Pellino

    I like smart women.

    Unfortunately, some of them are stupid enough to consider the rubbish in this article to be “science.”

    1. Avatar of Christopher Evans
      Christopher Evans

      Either that or they were feeling a little self-conscious after being put in a room with a woman and basically called stupid right in front of her. We all know that women like smart guys, so its already a swing-and-miss if you’ve been publicly acknowledged as being less intelligent that she is.

  17. Avatar of A

    This doesn’t sound like a repeatable experiment – if conducted else where, results might be different

  18. Avatar of Tom Rhodes

    To study anything with validity we use double blind methods to avoid skewing the results with experimental bias. What does that say about this attempt at feigning “science”?

  19. Avatar of theshawn

    If we take this “study” as some sort of authority to make this blanket statement (and one negative towards men obviously), did the study ask women who were smarter if they were attracted to men less smart?

    If the implication is that not being attracted to someone smarter is some sort of mental weakness, what is the judgment of being so arrogant you wouldn’t date someone less smart than yourself? Is that morally superior to not wanting to date someone smarter?

    This study has flaws imo. To state that “science confirms” also means whoever did the study had presuppositions about this subject before doing the “study”. Did that influence how it was constructed or conclusions drawn? Was the “confirm” sought vs. discovered?

    1. Avatar of Jon

      The scientific method must include “presuppositions” (called hypothesis) in order to conduct an experiment. There must be a lot of women smarter than you 😉

  20. Avatar of theshawn

    Scientifically speaking, this article and the “scientific” conclusions of the study is pretty sad.

  21. Avatar of Lissa

    Just my opinion but I think most men are attracted to intelligent women. Unless they themselves are not intelligent. Like attracts like.

  22. Avatar of Mark

    Did science prove men are terrified of smart women? This study put young people into an artificial environment and used test scores to both determine their intelligence and their relative intellectual value. They then made assumptions about how men respond when attracted or repulsed by women and made further assumptions about how attraction manifests in behavior. I revel in the delicious mind of my wife Maria yet I’d have avoided her under this test’s conditions. First of all she’d have probably done poorly on a test yet she’s way smarter than me. Then, if she did well I’d have sat well away from her… why? out of respect for her space. Should we approach an intelligent being by crowding them? This test assumes we do. When I like people I want to meet naturally not by pushing myself on them so zooming into their space seems rude. And then, do we base our attraction on competitive performance? That’s pretty thin. Intelligence is better revealed through conversations and shared experiences . And then there’s the gender biases. Would gay men react similarly with smart men taking tests? Or would women also react like men; intimidated in this competitive environment? There were no controls here. This study was silly and its conclusions were mere affirmations of academic assumptions. A lot of men do fear powerful women, but this study doesn’t parse their numbers. To women with beautiful minds: long, long after the initial physical infatuations have passed, your men will seek your company, value you, and love you… exactly how you are. To the men who fear you because you’re smart you might just say… “Boo!”

  23. Avatar of Paolo Brave

    Quale sia la definizione dell’intelligenza non è semplice, ma sicuramente non è quella dettata dal numero di libri letti, o da un titolo accademico. Le persone estremamente intelligenti ma anche logiche ed empatiche tendono raramente a legarsi a lungo ad una persona. Sono talmente prese dalla dimensione di percezione differente del mondo e ad ogni angolo continuano a scoprire nuove cose, difficilmente in uno stato di coscienza simile si ricade in un legame di routine, e, a mia modesta opinione su quali basi la Portman deduce?Una persona libera da Ego ama sempre, libera, e il suo amore non può venir quantificato e sopratutto, cara Natalie Portman, cari scenziati, non conosce e mai conoscerà sesso. L’intelligenza non a sesso, smettetela di diffondere queste verità basate su uno studio isolato, senza prendere in considerazione milioni di fattori tra i quali anche uno solo potrebbe far crollare la vostra presunzione

  24. Avatar of Carol

    Did you notice they were all undergraduates? On average, undergraduates are between the ages of 20 and 30. On average, men who are in that age range are typically more interested in being considered very masculine. If they were to choose their sample to an older age group… would they get different results? It sure would be interesting. And what would be the results if the group being tested were women vs. a more than/less than intelligent man? These studies would be much more interesting, in my opinion, if they would choose larger and more diverse groups of people. Just sayin 🙂

    1. Avatar of theshawn

      What?? Your don’t think blanket accusing men of being this way is real science based on one study and their conclusions??

  25. Avatar of Neil Griser

    I’m sorry but this is puerile rubbish……
    As someone who believes in equality of the sexes and ability ,
    the sexiest part of any female ( or person if you put visual aesthetics to one side ) is essentially their mind ..
    I married a smart woman, my female friends have always been mostly likewise.
    Only a fool or a total narcissist wants an adoring vacuous trophy blow up doll for company !

    1. Avatar of Tracy Lund

      Never heard of emotional intelligence? One is not better than the other, using both logical intelligence (because there is stupid logic mind you) with emotional intelligence is a winning combo.

  26. Avatar of Azniv Angel

    This is generalizing about men, it’s all about what we chose to do with our intelligence do we should to hold ourselves above others because we know we are? Or do we remain humbled by the ironies of life?

    1. Avatar of Christopher Evans
      Christopher Evans

      This just coming from a smart guy. If I were to talk to you and find out that you were incredibly intelligent, then I’d be very attracted and want to know more. But, if I got put next to you in a classroom, and was told by the guy running the study, “Yeah, she’s way smarter than you are. Now go strike up a conversation.” Yeah, I really wouldn’t know what to say. Its almost like, in this circumstance, I’d either view you as competition, or I would feel like I was just publicly called out for not being as intelligent. And, knowing that women like smart men, I think I’d basically consider this one to be a bust. Plus, whose to say that these guys were even attracted to the women? Did they bring in Super Models? Or did they bring in frumpy Feminazis that couldn’t get a date if they tried?

  27. Avatar of Garry Szuski

    If you are planning to spend a long time (or a lifetime) with someone, wouldn’t you want someone smart? Your partner might not be brilliant in ever field but that’s where you can share your smarts. 🙂

  28. Avatar of Paul Carter

    Well, I’m not sure where they come up with this because I “LOVE” a woman with intellect and can actually carry on an intelligent conversation and doesn’t see herself as a poor helpless twit. The problem is, there are very few. Most are obsessed with “popularity”, money, movie stars, showing off their fake tits, lips and asses, and dress like a two-bit street whore.

  29. Avatar of Eunice Concil Rodriguez

    lol!love it..awesome..probably..but I am a kind of woman who can give my man the importance of a real man..I can be a successful woman in mu work place but in terms of a family most especially as a wife and mother..I will my duty..anyway that’s most really matter in my views as a woman..

  30. Avatar of Sanja Filipović

    Or just annoyed by arrogance,why people can’t take responsibility for their action,always saying “people are jaleous of me because I’m so perfect” (rolleyes)

  31. Avatar of Leeann Haynie

    …and the exceptionally mature / wise man accepts & understands this left over relics of his primal pride/ego..and overcame those intimidating fears & holds on too good hearted smart women.
    Just doesn’t appear to be found readily available yet 😛

  32. Avatar of Jyoti Agarwal Poddar

    Hahahahahahaha …. I don’t know about other women!!! I know only about myself.n I’m sure I love more intelligent men who r genious ,more than smart.I always give importance to innocence than smartness .I give importance to love more than wealth.

    1. Avatar of Neil Griser

      Carlyle Frances
      I think it’s depends on who you meet …so if your as intelligent as your are striking and vice versa it’s a potent combination .
      I find a bright intelligent person who challenges me stimulating.Hence the lady who became my wife.
      Not all of us are as vacuous or superficial as the people we are told we prefer.
      It’s too easy to stereotype.
      I want parity an equality, not a pretty doormat ….
      I promise you someone is out there who will like an love you for you ..
      Just don’t give up on the idea

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