Forget the nerdy stereotype! Wearing glasses makes people appear LESS intelligent, surprising study claims

  • Researchers showed 517 participants photos of people with and without glasses 
  • They were asked to rate them on attractiveness, confidence, and intelligence
  • People were rated higher on all three when they weren’t wearing glasses 

From the title character in Napoleon Dynamite to McLovin in Superbad, stereotypical ‘nerds’ are often depicted wearing glasses.

But a new study suggests that if you want people to think you’re intelligent, you should consider swapping your glasses for contact lenses.

Researchers from the University of Jordan found that people are seen as less attractive, less confident, and less intelligent when wearing glasses.

A new study suggests that if you want people to think you’re intelligent, you should consider swapping your glasses for contact lenses (stock image)

From the title character in Napoleon Dynamite (pictured) to McLovin in Superbad, stereotypical ‘nerds’ are often depicted wearing glasses

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The number of people who need glasses has been increasing significantly throughout the decades.

For example, a 2019 study found that the number of teenagers needing glasses has nearly doubled since 2012 ‘due to youngsters spending so many hours each day staring at screens.’

In the new study, the researchers set out to investigate the effect of wearing glasses on attractiveness, confidence, and intelligence.

The team recruited 517 students in Jordan, 66.9 per cent of who didn’t wear glasses, and 33.1 per cent who did.

The participants were asked to rate photos of four people with and without glasses on a scale of one to 10 for attractiveness, intelligence, and confidence.

The results revealed that participants rated images without glasses as being more attractive, intelligent, and confident compared to similar images with glasses.

‘Moreover, participants wearing glasses provided higher scores for images with glasses, whereas participants not wearing glasses did not provide higher scores for images without glasses,’ the researchers explained in their study, published in Cureus.

The researchers highlight that most previous studies on the impact of glasses-wearing were carried out in western populations, with contrasting results.

‘While our study showed a negative impact of wearing eyeglasses on intelligence rating, studies on western populations found a positive impact on intelligence perception for images and people wearing eyeglasses, where this variability is probably due to different cultural associations with wearing eyeglasses,’ they explained.

‘Compared to western studies where eyeglasses have a positive impact on the intelligence image of a person, our study that included participants of Arabian ethnicities rated images with glasses with lower intelligence scores compared to images without glasses, which might represent a sort of social stigma related to wearing glasses among Jordanians.’

The researchers highlight a number of limitations that they believe should be considered in future projects.

‘We did not assess the effect of eyeglasses rim, facial features, and other factors that may influence the perception of attractiveness,’ they wrote.

However, they hope the findings could prove useful in developing strategies to encourage people who need glasses to actually wear them.

‘Sight correction with eyeglasses carries associated social and personality effects on the wearer,’ they concluded.

‘Studying these effects may provide an insight into how to increase compliance with these corrective devices.’


Glasses wearers really are more intelligent than those with perfect vision.

According to the largest genetic study of cognitive function ever conducted, there are significant links between intelligence and glasses.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh found that the most intelligent among us are 30 per cent more likely to need glasses.

The largest genetic study of cognitive function ever conducted has uncovered a link between intelligence and poor eyesight. According to the University of Edinburgh study, the most intelligent among us are 30 per cent more likely to need glasses

The extensive study also linked higher cognitive ability to genes known to play a crucial role in good cardiovascular health.

The genetic data of 44,480 people was examined in the study, which was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Those who participated took part in a variety of thinking tests, and the results were tallied into a general cognitive ability score.

Unfortunately, the study’s design means that researchers were unable to say why there is such a direct correlation between a person’s intelligence, poor eyesight, and cardiovascular health.

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