Why Intelligent People Tend To Be Loners
Have you ever wondered why your intelligent peers (or you, if you're one of the smart ones, in which case congrats, what are you reading ATM?) tend to be more reclusive? A study published last month in the British Journal of Psychology has revealed why some smart people tend to be loners.
While the research shows that people who see friends more frequently were more satisfied with life, highly intelligent people felt the opposite – seeing friends too much produced negative emotional effects. It turns out that having lots of friends and socialising frequently actually makes people with high IQs "miserable".
Using evolutionary psychology, the researchers from Singapore Management University theorised that things that produced positive effects for our ancestors make most of us happy today, like friendships and cooperative social structures.
But the study, which used analysis of a huge national survey of 15,000 adults aged 18 to 28, found highly intelligent people find life easier to deal with by socialising less and living in densely populated areas. Kinda like Sherlock or Amelie.
This isn't great if your other half or BFF is of Sherlock intelligence, but this doesn't mean all intelligent people prefer to be alone and away from your friendly clutches.
Just because our ancestors experienced certain outcomes from socialising doesn't mean we necessarily will. The researchers address the fact that times have changed, explaining that technological advancements may have changed the way we adjust to our environments. For example, we don't have to rely on the hunter-gatherer lifestyles and childcare networks our ancestors did. So people with high IQs don't need to rely on cooperation with others for survival.
The study authors wrote:
"Situations and circumstances that would have increased our ancestors’ life satisfaction in the ancestral environment may still increase our life satisfaction today."
However, other researchers have different opinions on the outcomes of the study. Carol Graham, a Brookings Institution researcher who studies the economics of happiness told Business Insider that she thinks the study really shows something else. She said: "The findings in here suggest (and it is no surprise) that those with more intelligence and the capacity to use it ... are less likely to spend so much time socialising because they are focused on some other longer term objective."
So intelligent people might hang out with their friends less because they have things to do that they deem more important, such as studying, fitness or work.
Next time your smart friend cancels, maybe ask them if they need help on their project. See their reaction.
By Lydia Morrish, published on 17/02/2017