Does love really make you blind? Maybe so, since many people overestimate their partner’s intelligence quotient (IQ). This tendency then comes on top of the fact that most people overestimate their own IQ as well.
A cognitive bias that goes beyond our ego
Human beings seem to have a propensity to overestimate one’s own intelligence. In any case, this is the conclusion of a study published in the journal Plos One in 2018. This work confirmed that 65% of Americans consider themselves smarter than average. However, this cognitive bias would be even more exacerbated in the less intelligent and competent people. This is about Dunning-Kruger effect (or effect of overconfidence), whereby the least qualified in a field overestimate their competence. In recent years, the former President of the United States Donald Trump has given the proof several times, in particular when he declared to perceive himself not as an intelligent person, but as a true genius.
Beyond our ego, this judgmental bias would also concern our loving partner, as indicated by a recent published in the journal Intelligence and conducted by a duo of researchers from the universities of Warsaw (Poland) and Western Australia (Australia).
The researchers asked 218 heterosexual couples to rate their own intelligence and that of their partner on an IQ scale. These couples had been together for an average of six years and a quarter of them were married. According to the results, the volunteers unsurprisingly overestimated their own IQ by 30 points. However, the most astonishing lies elsewhere: men have overestimated their female partner’s IQ by 36 points and women, their male partner by 38 points.
According to the theory of evolution, women should logically be more perceptive in discerning the intelligence of their partner. Indeed, they have the “responsibility” to choose the best genes to pass on to their children. According to this study, this claim would therefore not be viable. In reality, individuals would be more likely to choose a partner with a intellectual level closer to theirs. However, this preference exists for both the real score and the supposed IQ score.
The study estimates that the intellectual compatibility in a couple has therefore no link with the level of satisfaction that generates the fact of being together. For the study leaders, this tendency to overestimate your partner’s intelligence may be another way to showcase yourself. It can also be a question of an additional way to make the couple last.