Researchers have found that a man's intelligence can be determined just by looking at his face—but a woman's IQ? That's not as easy to tell from looks alone. Here's why.
A recently published study in the journal PLoS One found the link between perceived intelligence and measurable intelligence by asking both male and female subjects to look at close-up photos of 80 Czech university students (half men and half women). The subjects were asked to rate photos of students who aren't smiling or wearing makeup or jewelry for both attractiveness and smarts.
Both the male and female study subjects "were able to estimate intelligence with an accuracy higher than chance" when looking at pictures of men. If you're curious, a highly intelligent man apparently looks like the scruffy gent in the photo above.
"Faces that are perceived as highly intelligent are rather prolonged, with a broader distance between the eyes, a larger nose, a slight upturn to the corners of the mouth, and a sharper, pointing, less rounded chin. By contrast, the perception of lower intelligence is associated with broader, more rounded faces with eyes closer to each other, a shorter nose, declining corners of the mouth, and a rounded and massive chin."
But while there's a link between how intelligent a man looks and how intelligent he actually is, it isn't strong enough to indicate that every man who looks like he knows what he's talking about really does.
"Faces of supposed high and low intelligence probably represent nothing more than a cultural stereotype," the study concluded, adding that "these morphological traits do not correlate with the real intelligence of the subjects."
So why can't people look at a woman and determine how smart she is? Turns out, the better-looking a woman is, the more likely people will assume she has an above-average IQ. The subjects of the study rated attractive women as intelligent more often than they did men—giving some women more credit than they actually deserved. The study says, "Women are pervasively judged according to their attractiveness. The strong halo effect of attractiveness may thus prevent an accurate assessment of the intelligence of women."
—Details associate online style editor Justin Fenner.
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