Debate surrounding gender differences are never over. A recent study suggests that though men like and get fascinated by the idea of dating an intelligent women, they do not seem to like the reality at all.

Men get attracted by intelligent women. However, they tend to feel threatened or intimidated by women who outsmart them. A joint team of researchers from the University of Buffalo, California Lutheran University and the University of Texas, Austin, conducted a study to assess the traits that men tend to desire in a woman.

The researchers found that men feel intimidated by the thought of dating women who are smarter than them. According to the study, “men’s attraction to certain traits in women can be directly affected by how realistic a romantic prospect their potential lover is,” the Independent reported.

The research team conducted the study in two phases. In the first phase, 105 male subjects were asked to imagine a scenario where a woman has either outperformed or underperformed them in a maths or a science test. They were then asked to imagine either one of them as their romantic partner.

Men ranked the woman who outscored them as a more “desirable” partner. The study reportedly states that “men showed greater interest in women who displayed more intelligence.”

During the second phase, the same group of men was asked if they would like to date such a woman in reality. In terms of real life situations, men tended to distance themselves from such women, rated her as less attractive or showed less interest in exchanging contact information with her, the study found.

Although more research is required to reach a concrete conclusion, the researchers reportedly believe that “feelings of diminished masculinity accounted for men’s decreased attraction toward women who outperformed them.”

The study findings are scheduled to be published in the November edition of the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.