Master's Theses

Document Type


Date of Award

Summer 2011

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Dr. Stephen Kitzis


Mass media is portraying highly intelligent people as having noticeable deficits in their social skills. Shows such as The Big Bang Theory are very popular and watched by millions. This suggests that the population has a perception of intelligent individuals being odd and not having many friends. This study looks at how perceived intelligence affects the likeableness of an individual. The perception of intelligence was raised or lowered according to the grade level of the words used in several descriptive paragraphs. Non-verbal cues were eliminated by using written paragraphs rather than individuals speaking. It was expected that perceived intelligence would be inversely correlated with likeableness, and that this bias against higher intelligence would be stronger for a hypothetical women being rated than for a hypothetical man. Support was found for the basic hypothesis that perceived intelligence was negatively correlated with perceived likeableness, but this negative relationship was no stronger for women than it was for men.


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Copyright 2011 Robert J. Fossum

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