It is certain, your darling is a pure genius. Finally, this is what you believe. According to a study, we greatly overestimate the IQ of our lover. Enough to reinforce the saying that love is blind.

It is well known that we greatly overestimate our own intelligence. According to a 2018 study, 65% of Americans say they are smarter than the average. A cognitive bias further reinforced in the most incompetent people: the more you are ignorant, the more you think you know much better than others on all kinds of subjects.

A phenomenon well known as the Dunning-Kruger effect, highlighted in 1999 by the two eponymous psychologists and which regained popularity with the election of Trump. “I see myself, not as intelligent, but as a genius”, had thus tweeted the American president in January 2018.

38 more IQ points

But this blindness extends beyond our own ego: it also leads us to believe that our lover is far more intelligent than he or she is in reality. In an article in the journal Intelligence, two researchers from the University of Warsaw and Western Australia asked 218 heterosexual couples, together for an average of 6 years and 25% of whom were married, to assess their own intelligence and that of their partner on an IQ scale. Not surprisingly, participants overestimated their own IQ by 30 points. But more surprisingly, they were even more deluded about their partner’s score: women thus overvalued the IQ of their darling by 38 points and men that of their partner by 36 points.

Intellectual compatibility means harmony in the couple?

According to evolutionary theory, women should, however, be more gifted at discerning the intelligence of their partner, since they are responsible for choosing the “right” genes to pass on to their offspring. According to the results of this study, this is not the case. In reality, we tend to choose people who have an intellectual level close to ours.

This preference is observed both for the real score and for the supposed IQ score, which seems after all logical when we know that couples are formed largely within the same social class or the same level of education. Unfortunately, this intellectual compatibility is in no way linked to the level of satisfaction in the couple, reports the study.

Ultimately, this tendency to overestimate the intelligence of our alter ego is perhaps only an additional way of enhancing oneself, suggest the authors. Or maybe to make the couple last? A previous study explains that women who idealize their spouse are more in love and less likely to see their love decline than in couples more realistic about the faults of their half. To live happily, must we live in illusion?

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