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Why do glasses make people look more intelligent? © Getty Images

Quick Q&A: Why do glasses make people look more intelligent?

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Rocking the geek chic look with a pair of specs? Although we can’t promise that glasses will make you smarter, you’ll sure look brainy.

Asked by: Rosie Stevenson, Derby


It’s an association that starts early: when primary school children are asked to draw a scientist or ‘smart person’, they tend to depict them with glasses (perhaps influenced by spectacle-wearing characters like Harry Potter).

This association may be because we tend to assume that short-sighted people are more ‘bookish’ – a stereotype with more than a grain of truth. Lack of time spent outside has been shown to contribute to short-sightedness, as has time spent engaging in close-up work such as reading.

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Dr Christian Jarrett is a cognitive neuroscientist, science writer and author. He is the Deputy Editor of Psyche, the sister magazine to Aeon that illuminates the human condition through psychology, philosophy and the arts. Jarrett also created the British Psychological Society's Research Digest blog and was the first ever staff journalist on the Society's magazine, The Psychologist. He is author of Great Myths of The Brain and Be Who You Want: Unlocking the Science of Personality Change.


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