Do you find yourself making excuses to stay at home, perhaps to binge-watch Netflix with your cat, even when friends invite you out? Do you sometimes delay errands you need to run, simply because you don’t want to deal with traffic and people at the store?
Contrary to popular belief, people who do exactly this aren’t anti-social. Rather, they are highly-intelligent individuals who cannot stand fake platitudes from people who are employed to act nice, or those who exchange small talk on the street.
Yes, this declaration is supported by science. A new NCBI study suggests that people who are highly intelligent tend to associate with only a handful of people, as well as seek out social interaction less frequently. The study also found that their life satisfaction increases when these people choose to live by this strategy.
The research was led by two evolutionary psychologists who challenge the modern view that social contact leads to happiness. Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics and Norman Li of Singapore Management University propose that the core social skills which humans developed centuries ago affect our happiness today. Specifically, they believe the “savannah theory” is at the root of modern happiness. What this means is that the factors which made early humans satisfied are still true, despite humans living in the technological age.
The researchers used data from a large long-term study, which surveyed adults from the ages of 18 to 28, reports The Daily Mail. They then applied the theory to explain the findings of self-reported levels of satisfaction from life. Just two factors were focused on: population density and how frequently participants interacted with their friends.
It turns out, people living in the most densely populated areas reported the least amount of satisfaction. The researchers also deduced that more frequent socialization with friends results in a more positive association with levels of life satisfaction. However, “among the extremely intelligent,” the authors wrote, frequent social interaction is linked with a reduction of life satisfaction. Once again, this means highly intelligent people prefer to be left alone.
How does this relate to the “savannah theory”? The researchers believe the brains of our hunter-gatherer ancestors were perfectly adapted to live on the African savannah. There, populations would have been sparse, perhaps no more than 150 people.
Interacting with other members of the tribe would have been crucial to survival. At the same time, space was important. Kanazawa and Li theorize that there is a mismatch between people’s minds and bodies in the modern era.
It seems for the most intelligent people in society, there is a conflict between hoping to achieve greater goals, and being tied to our evolutionary past. The latest findings have been peer-reviewed and published in the British Journal of Psychology.
What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!
Image Credit: Copyright: otobor / 123RF Stock Photo