Too Smart? Too Easygoing? That's Why You're Single

Stop being laid back and get laid!

A new study by the University of Western Australia seems to suggests that there is such a thing as being too smart and too laid back when it comes to looking for love.

Watch out, er Honey Badger, on at least one of those fronts.

The lead author of the paper, UWA senior lecturer Gilles Gignac, surveyed 383 young adults from Perth about a series of characteristics that people typically seek in a partner. And what he found kind of surprised us... and him.

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In the study, Gilles and his team tested four primary characteristics -- intelligence, easygoingness, kindness, and physical attractiveness. The subjects were asked to specify how attracted they would be to a potential partner who was more intelligent than 1 percent, 10 percent, 25 percent, 50 percent, 75 percent, 90 percent, and then 99 percent of the population. They were then asked the same question across the other personality traits.

And then the fun began.

"Intelligence is ranked consistently as one of the most desirable characteristics in a romantic partner. So, you would think that more intelligence would correspond to more desirability," he told ten daily. "However, that's not quite the case. Across two studies now, we've found that after about an IQ of 120 (90th percentile), there's a bit of a reduction in rated attractiveness, on average."

In other words -- you can be too smart to find love.

The study also examined why some people were much more attracted to intelligence in a romantic partner than others and found that neither how intelligent a person is, nor how intelligent they think they are, could predict the degree to which they found intelligence attractive in a prospective partner.

"The part that surprised me the most about the study is that people's own intelligence (measured with an actual IQ test), and even the perception of their own intelligence (self-ratings), does not predict the degree to which they find various levels of intelligence attractive," Gignac told ten daily. "So, some people find intelligence very attractive in a prospective partner, but it doesn't appear to be driven by their own intelligence."

The study, published in the British Journal of Psychology, also found that there was a statistically significant reduction in rated attractiveness for a hypothetical person at the 99th percentile for easygoingness, compared to the 90th percentile.

Gignac said although kindness and intelligence were commonly ranked as two of the most important characteristics for a romantic partner, there could be too much of a good thing when it came to these sought-after partner characteristics.

“So, on average, there doesn’t appear to be any gain to being exceptionally kind or exceptionally physically attractive in the context of attracting a romantic partner,” Gignac said.

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And what does he see then as being the perfect combo for love?

Ah well, that's the thing, Gignac told ten daily. "Based on our results, which were based only on four partner characteristics, the ideal partner is very kind, physically attractive, easygoing, and intelligent -- but not exceptionally so."

Noted.