Then, of course, other elements hold our attention, because otherwise the relationship does not hold up. But what is the place of the intellect in all this? Is it the case?
As Psychology Today points out, researchers have looked at this important question and provided some answers. For example, Gabriela Hofer studied the impact of perceived competence on partner attractiveness; specifically, she investigated whether intelligent, creative, and emotionally competent people caused attraction. She and her team used a speed dating study (in an atmosphere of dim lights and soft jazz, where several people had a few minutes to get to know each other). They found that more creative women were considered attractive, while intelligence or emotional skills did not predict attraction.
However, most people seem to agree with the idea that we are attracted to other people not only because of their appearance, but also because of their intellect. In fact, in many cultures, cognitive skills are considered one of the most desirable traits for a potential mate. People often name intelligence as one of the most attractive traits when asked to describe their ideal partner, which is accompanied by an increased demand for serious relationships. The authors note that the only exception to this rule is for men who are only looking for a sexual encounter, in which case below-average intelligence is considered acceptable.
When asked to describe their ideal partner, people often cite intelligence as one of the most attractive traits.
The study also found that women's creativity was significantly related to partner attractiveness and that perceptions of skills in a speed dating environment may be highly predictive of potential partners' attractiveness. Furthermore, they concluded that the impact of perceived and measured skills was significantly lower after controlling for physical attractiveness, suggesting that these skills are less important in assessing initial attractiveness than previously thought.
However, they did not find that intelligence played a more important role in men's attraction to their partners. This finding contrasts with the belief that men only value a woman's intelligence if she has minimal attractiveness, or that intelligent women are at a greater disadvantage when they are also less attractive.
The researchers did not find that intelligence played a more important role in men's attraction to their partners.
Perhaps one of the most interesting findings from a practical standpoint is that perceived competence was found to be more relevant to attraction than measured competence.
Apparently, instead of believing that beauty is only superficial, attraction occurs on the surface as well as in depth. Relationships that develop slowly allow partners to get to know each other over time, making them more able to perceive traits that may (or may not) contribute to a successful and satisfying relationship.