Researchers asked hundreds of people what they found attractive in a potential romantic partner. Picture: Pexels

London - Showing off your knowledge might seem like a good idea when trying to impress a woman.

But men deemed too clever are actually more likely to be turned down by the opposite sex, research shows.

While women want some intelligence in a man, it seems that you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to brains.

And chaps who are too physically attractive will not win plaudits with potential partners either.

A study by researchers at the University of Western Australia found that women did not want exceptionally clever or handsome men. But the same did not hold true for men – who are not put off by extreme levels of intelligence or good looks, they found.

Researchers asked hundreds of people what they found attractive in a potential romantic partner. Participants rated four qualities – good looks, cleverness, kindness and being easy-going.

They were asked to say how attracted they would be to potential partners who were, for example, kinder than one percent of the population. They were then asked the same for 10 percent, 25 percent, 50 percent, 75 percent, 90 percent and 99 percent of the population. 

For each percentage, participants rated the partners on a six-point scale from "extremely unattracted" to ‘extremely attracted’.

The results showed that the more the quality was present, the more attractive the person was as a partner – most of the time. But for females, partners lost their appeal at the top of the scale for some traits.

Women said a partner would be more attractive if they were more intelligent than 90 percent of the population. However, attractiveness decreased if the person was more intelligent than 99 percent of the population.

The same drop-off was seen for physical attractiveness and being easy-going, according to the findings published in the British Journal of Psychology.

Co-author Dr Gilles Gignac said: "It is well established that several mate characteristics are valued highly in a prospective partner.

"But the sort of continuous measurement used in our research is making it clear that several of these characteristics are associated with a threshold effect – in other words, you can have too much of a good thing."