Ryan Gosling: Scientists said that young women only wanted a handsome man – no matter how respectful, friendly, ambitious or intelligent he may be. Picture: Reuters

Young women often claim they are less shallow than their male counterparts, prioritising personality over looks.

But a study found that when it comes to assessing a potential partner, women go for appearance just as much as men.

Scientists said that young women only wanted a handsome man – no matter how respectful, friendly, ambitious or intelligent he may be.

Older women asked to pick a partner for their daughter also opted for good looking men, though they were less exacting than their children, including men who were only ‘reasonably attractive’ in their picks.

Eastern Connecticut State University assessed 80 women aged 15 to 29 and 61 of the mothers. Participants were presented with photos of three men of varying attractiveness, who were each paired with one of three personality profiles: "respectful", "friendly" or "pleasing".

They then had to rate the men by attractiveness, personality and if they’d consider them as a dating partner.

Researchers found the best looking men came up trumps. Those with the most desirable personalities were only rated more favourably than their counterparts when they were also at least moderately attractive. Even when unattractive men possessed the most desirable traits they were not viewed as dating material.

The study, published in journal Evolutionary Psychological Science, concluded: "Physical attractiveness takes priority over other characteristics".