Smarter people prefer to have fewer friends

One of the most common stereotypes about exceptionally intelligent people is that in general, these tend to concern fewer people and find pleasure in times of loneliness. Of course, this is only a stereotype, and it is clear that there can be a lot of people with great intellect who are also particularly social and who like to interact with a lot of people who are little known.

However, a study by the London School of Economics in collaboration with Singapore Management University indicates that this myth may reflect a real statistical trend.

High CI, few friends: against the grain

Specifically, this research found a negative correlation between people’s IQs and their propensity to spend time interacting with others. Simply put, smarter people don’t need to have a very active social life to feel good and can actually be upset if forced into it.

This trend is the reverse of that which occurs in people with low intelligence or with an IQ very close to the population average, judging by the results of the statistical analysis. In this sense, those who show greater intelligence are going against the grain.

What did the research consist of?

The study conducted by this team did not focus exactly on the topic of intelligence, but on how a set of variables affects the feeling of satisfaction with the life that one leads. In other words, with what we might call “happiness”.

Psychologists Satoshi Kanazawa and Norman Li took the lead in analyzing a large-scale survey of some 15,000 people between the ages of 18 and 28, noting that in general, the level of satisfaction with one’s life tends to be high among people with a more active social life, While decreasing the number of people living in more densely populated areas.

A rarity among the smartest people

However, when they focused on studying people with higher IQs, they saw that the correlation between happiness and the frequency of social interactions was negative. Contrary to what happened with the rest of the population, especially smart people who relate more to other people showed lower levels of satisfaction than those who have spent more time alone.

In other words, judging by these results, smarter people tend to be more satisfied with their lives if they have little social interaction with others, which would make them prefer having fewer relationships if they could choose. While in general, respondents positively appreciated the opportunity to have relationships with many people (as long as it was not under crowded conditions), smarter individuals did not seem to show this need.

Why is this happening?

Kanazawa and Li take an evolutionary psychology perspective to explain why smarter people seem to go against the grain when it comes to valuing an active social life.

According to his explanation, based on the so-called savannah theory, this phenomenon could be linked to how the brain of our evolutionary lineage has evolved over the last million years.

When it began to form into a large brain that defines the genus Homo, the life of the species that comprised it was to unfold in large, open, leaf-like spaces with scattered groves, in which the population density was minimal and you had to live all day with other family or tribe members to survive.

However, smarter individuals would be better prepared to adapt to challenges on their own and to adapt to new situations without the help of others, being constantly accompanied by others would bring fewer benefits. For this reason, they do not show the same propensity to be constantly accompanied and they even tend to seek more time to be alone.

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