The research led by Mark Prokosch, an evolutionary psychologist at Elon University in North Carolina suggests that women looking for both one-night stands and long-term relationships go for good looking and intelligent men.
"Women want the best of both worlds. Not only a physically attractive man, but somebody in the long term who can provide for them," New Scientist quoted Prokosch, as saying.
For the study, the research team asked 15 college men to perform a series of tasks on camera.
The volunteers read news reports, explained why they would be a good date, and what would be the ramifications of the discovery of life on Mars.
They were also made to play Frisbee show off their physical appeal. Each potential suitor also took a quantitative test of verbal intelligence.
Later, more than 200 women were made to watch the series of these videos before rating each man's intelligence, attractiveness, creativity and appeal for a short-term or long-term relationship.
The study showed that, in potential husbands, women look for signs that a man might be a good provider and father.
However in one-night stands, women are on the prowl for little more than good genes, not to mention a good time.
Women proved to be decent judges of intelligence, with their scores generally matching each man's intelligence test results.
But Martie Haselton, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of California in Los Angeles had a different view. He revealed that although women were good judges of intelligence, they weren't perfect.
In many cases, women rated good hook-ups as dunces, when their intelligence scores indicated otherwise.
"There could be aspects of intelligence that we pick up on when we interact with a person and that affect our assessment of them, even if we wouldn't label it as intelligence," she said.
Prokosch said that looks were still a much more powerful predictor of sex appeal than brains.
"Women are still going for the hunk," Prokosch said.
"If you had an option to pick from five different people, you would pick the most attractive one," he added.
The study appears in journal Evolution and Human Behavior.