Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde

New York - Looks, a lightning wit and dazzling intelligence may sound like the qualities of a perfect partner.

But, as women will no doubt note with a sigh, they are often wasted on men.

For the male of the species can’t resist a girl who acts dumb, a study suggests.

Researchers found that men are genetically programmed to look for easy conquests.

Being smart or quick witted is actually a turn-off and makes men less likely to attempt an approach.

A university study asked 103 men and 91 women to nominate actions they felt would make women a good target for a fling.

From these results, a list of 88 factors was drawn up that made women appear more “exploitable” – such as those who bite their lips or look sleepy – or suggested they were attention-seekers.

The US researchers, from Texas-Austin University, then showed photos of women illustrating this type of behaviour or characteristic to 76 other men and asked them to rate how desirable they found them.

When faced with a physical vulnerability, such as being short, the men did not find the women especially attractive.

But when psychological vulnerability was revealed – such as when the women were immature or unintelligent – the men gave them a higher rating. Significantly, the men also ranked these women as more attractive than those who were portrayed as brainy.

But their interest dropped off considerably when asked how keen they were to have a longer term relationship with the “dumb” women. In their report the researchers said that at their core men have changed little since Neanderthal times, when reproduction was their prime objective.

They wrote: “The assessment of a woman’s immediate vulnerability may be central to the activation of psychological mechanisms related to sexual exploitation.”

Relationships expert Jean Hannah Edelstein added: “It’s not a recipe for a happy relationship to select a partner based on what you perceive to be their inferiority.” - Daily Mail