After recruiting 214 university students, they quizzed participants on the qualities they found attractive in a potential partner. Volunteers – 70 per cent of which were female – ranked good looks, cleverness, kindness and being easy-going on a six-point scale ranging from 'extremely unattracted' to 'extremely attracted.'
The questions were framed as a comparison to the rest of the population. For example, rating potential partners who were kinder than one per cent of the population and then the same for 10 per cent, 25 per cent, 50 per cent, 75 per cent, 90 per cent and 99 per cent of the population.
The results, which are published in the British Journal of Psychology, suggest that while these common qualities – intelligence and good looks – made people more attractive as a partner, at the top end of the scale, they lost their appeal.
“It is well established that several mate characteristics are valued highly in a prospective partner,” Gilles Gignac, a co-author of the research, told The Independent.
“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.”
So if you ever find yourself dateless, consider it a compliment.