Good news for young academics

Increasing scientific evidence shows that brains count for a lot in mate choice. And now – for the first time – researchers have directly linked a male’s cognitive performance to his luck with the ladies.

“Males that are better problem-solvers are mating with more females,” says Jason Keagy, a behavioural ecologist at the University of Maryland in College Park, who studies not the mating rituals of the political elite in nearby Washington DC, but those of a bird native to the forests of eastern Australia.

…In search of a more relevant test of human desire, a team led by Mark Prokosch at Elon University, North Carolina, presented female university students with videos of males performing various cognitive and athletic feats, and then asked the women to judge each male’s intelligence and desirability. Females weren’t very good at determining which were the smartest males. But when the women were simply asked to pick out which men they found most attractive, those men turned out to be the most intelligent.

This piece of self-serving evidence is brought to you by the New Scientist.