Scientists could argue for lifetimes over what it means for a human to be happy, and what scenarios or situations will create that positive response. There is a general consensus regarding a good portion of what will make a person happy. For instance, most people wouldn’t argue against the idea that a connection with nature brings happiness. Most would agree that physical contact and being around friends and family will do the same thing. However, a new study recently published in the British Journal of Psychology suggests that people with high levels of intelligence tend to prefer being alone more than those with average intelligence. These individuals are considered rare compared to the vast majority who enjoy socialization in high doses.
The study in question was conducted by a pair of researchers who were studying the effects of intelligence on socialization. Norman Li and Satoshi Kanazawa reported that their findings were in line with the idea that individuals with highly developed intellects prefer to socialize with their friends on a less frequent basis in order to maintain optimal satisfaction with life.
This conclusion was found by analyzing surveys that were given to a little more than 15,000 individuals. The group surveyed was between the ages of 18 and 28, and it was designed to measure health, intelligence, and general satisfaction with life. When researchers analyzed the data, they found that the average person dislikes being around large crowds, but they enjoyed spending time with friends. However, these findings were not correlated to those who were considered highly intelligent.
The explanation behind the data is where the true science starts to come into play. The findings were explained using a model called ‘The Savanna Theory of Happiness’. The theory basically states that what makes a human happy in the current world is related to how the human brain was first developed by natural selection. Humanity started to move much faster when tools became prevalent, and the biology of the human body can not adapt at the same rate. According to the theory, humans in the modern world are essentially identical to ancestral humans, which is biologically true, and those biological similarities make it difficult for man to survive in the modern world.
It should come as no surprise that society is the primary difference between ancestral humans and humans of today. Modern humans live in much denser groups thanks to the increasing population of the planet, and socialization occurs more frequently than it did in the past because of that density. However, modern humans spend less time socializing within their comfort zones.
It is believed that intelligence was first developed as a way to solve problems with the physical world. Challenges that could be solved with moderate intelligence weren’t exactly part of daily life, but as humans developed more intelligence, they discovered cooperation. Cooperation allows a group of moderately intelligent humans to accomplish something that each individual human could not. As society developed, these interactions became the basis for what modern psychology calls friendship.
However, humans in the past who were highly intelligent did not require cooperation in order to achieve their goals, so they never had the need to develop friendships that would benefit their lives. Since such intelligence would have been a rarity, it would have worked against natural selection, which is why there are so many more people of average intelligence in the modern world. Modern humans with high intelligence go through more or less the same societal experiences as their intelligent ancestors, which means they are less likely to seek out friendships that were originally biologically introduced to supplement intelligence.