What is the correlation between attractiveness and intelligence?

Study: You can read a man's intelligence in his face

Just use a photo in a dating app to estimate how much brains a man has - before you've even read a word from him? That is possible, say scientists from Charles University in Prague.

The team around the head of the study, Karel Kleisner, had the participants examine 40 photos each of male and female people and then asked them to assess the intelligence of the people shown. Kleisner's intention was to find out whether there is a connection between perceived and actual intelligence. He also wanted to investigate whether intelligence has a face, i.e. whether it is reflected in a very specific look. Are certain features of a face associated with attributed and actual intelligence?

In their study, which appeared in the specialist journal “PLOS”, the scientists found answers to their questions - and gained some other exciting insights into the relationship between appearance and intelligence.

After the study participants assessed the intelligence of the people in the photos, the researchers compared this result with the actual intelligence they had previously determined through an IQ test. The result of the experiment: The test subjects were able to correctly assess the intelligence of the 20 men shown - simply by looking at their faces. The intelligence of the 20 women photographed, on the other hand, was misjudged.

In general, the scientists were able to see that men with a narrower, longer face, a larger distance between the eyes, a longer nose and a less rounded chin are considered to be smarter. In fact, the men who were perceived as intelligent also had a higher IQ than the men who were considered to be less intelligent by the test subjects. These had a smaller eye relief, a rounder and wider face shape and a more massive chin.

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The attractiveness factor also plays a major role. If we perceive someone as attractive, we also attribute a higher level of intelligence to them. This relationship is particularly pronounced in women. The researchers therefore assume that women are more likely to be judged on their appearance and that this often means that their perceived intelligence does not match the real IQ.