Types of intelligence predict likelihood to get married and stay married: Large-scale empirical evidence for evolutionary theory

Jaakko Aspara, Kristina Wittkowski, Xueming Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Decisions related to marriage and divorce are key life events for individuals. In the present research, we provide large-scale evidence of the role of individual intelligence in marriage and divorce behavior, controlling for tangible resources such as income and social status symbols. We find that male individuals' intelligence score at early adulthood has a positive relationship with their subsequent likelihood to get married, in a sample of 120,290 males. Intelligence also predicts continued marriage (non-divorce) in a separate sample of 68,150 married males. The relatively easier-to-perceive verbal intelligence predicts the likelihood of getting married (bivariate correlation r = 0.07) slightly better than the harder-to-observe numeric (r = 0.06) and logical intelligence (r = 0.05). The likelihood to stay married is predicted to an equal extent by verbal, numeric, and logical intelligence (r ≈ 0.05). A series of regression models confirms the direct effect of residualized intelligence on marriage behavior over and above its indirect effect through income, social status, and other control variables. These findings provide empirical evidence for the notion of evolutionary psychology that human intelligence, as an intangible fitness indicator, directly influences mating prospects, rather than merely exerting its influence through the tangible resources of income and social status.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-6
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


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