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Brainiac or Just Another Introvert? Psychologists Find That Intelligent People Are Happier When They Socialize Less

Brainiac or Just Another Introvert? Psychologists Find That Intelligent People Are Happier When They Socialize Less

It’s Saturday night, most of your friends are heading out to the coolest restaurants and bars in town to have some fun. Meanwhile, you are alone at home, in a cozy outfit and finishing up the latest project that you have been working on for the past few weeks. You start to wonder if you were born to be a loner, even though you do enjoy every single moment spent with your friends.

But every time if you have to make a choice between work and socializing, you would go for the former one. Achieving a goal or completing a task always triggers an unmatched sense of fulfillment and excitement in you.

So, is something wrong with you? Psychologists do not think so.

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Psychologists believe such mentality could be a sign of high intelligence.

In February, Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics, together with Norman Li of Singapore Management University, published a research in the British Journal of Psychology, suggesting that,

More intelligent individuals experience lower life satisfaction with more frequent socialization with friends.(Li & Kanazawa, 2016)

To put it in a nutshell, exceptionally smart people may feel happier when they are less socially active. The team also looked into the correlation between the level of satisfaction, population density and IQ performance.

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In contrast, in a county with high population density (937 persons/km2 , one standard deviation above the mean), more intelligent individuals had higher mean life satisfaction than less intelligent individuals did. (Li & Kanazawa, 2016)

Average people enjoy greater satisfaction living in rural areas than in densely populated cities. But for the really smart ones? They are urban dwellers.

The difference could be caused by our response to the ancestral environment.

A possible explanation for such differences between average people and brainiacs is the “savanna theory of happiness”. Coined by Kanazawa in 2014, the theory argues that despite the evolution in humans, some of our behaviors still respond to the ancestral environment.

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In other words, as our ancestors lived in an environment where social interaction was essential to survival, we humans living in the modern society still prefer frequent socializing even it is no longer for the purpose of survival. But highly intelligent people are able to adapt to an environment that is vastly different from the ancestral one, as Kanazawa proposed in his 2004 study that intelligence is actually the capability for adapting to novel conditions.

Although the theory needs further study and development, it is reasonable to believe that there is a certain relation between one’s level of intelligence and the status of his/her social life. Here are the three ways of how they could be related:

1. You are intelligent if you are able to cope with loneliness.

While we can yet be certain about the savanna theory of happiness now, there is no doubt that humans are social animals. Social interactions make up a crucial part of our lives. But you do not put too great of an emphasis on social life and genuinely enjoy yourself, it may indicate your ability to overcome the urge to socialize that is hard-wired in us. Your brain could be operating in a way that is different from the rest of us!

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2. You believe in your own abilities because you are intelligent.

As we are all social animals, frequent interaction with those who are close to us could mean a source of happiness and emotional support. Many of us may spend a lot of time socializing, trying to build bonds with one another. But if you firmly believe that you are capable of tackling most of the situations on life on your own, it implies that you have confidence in your abilities. As a result, you may not dedicate as much time in socializing as we do!

3. You understand the meaning of priority because your intelligence teaches you how.

Since social interaction is not your main source of happiness, you probably would put other things, such as your work, above socializing. Inside your head, you may have got a clear list of priorities. That could make you stand out from a lot of us, who believe that having an active social life is just as important as pursuing our goals and career. You may be identified as a high achiever who is goal-oriented and committed to advancing your career. After all, you could be one of those experts in time management!

So next time when you turn down an invitation to a house party because of work, there is no need to feel guilty, as that could just be your intelligent brain functioning!

Featured photo credit: https://stocksnap.io via snap-photos.s3.amazonaws.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

What do I want to do with my life? It’s a question all of us think about at one point or another.

For some, the answer comes easily. For others, it takes a lifetime to figure out.

It’s easy to just go through the motions and continue to do what’s comfortable and familiar. But for those of you who seek fulfillment, who want to do more, these questions will help you paint a clearer picture of what you want to do with your life.

1. What are the things I’m most passionate about?

The first step to living a more fulfilling life is to think about the things that you’re passionate about.

What do you love? What fulfills you? What “work” do you do that doesn’t feel like work? Maybe you enjoy writing, maybe you love working with animals or maybe you have a knack for photography.

The point is, figure out what you love doing, then do more of it.

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2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

Think about your past experiences and the things in your life you’re most proud of.

How did those accomplishments make you feel? Pretty darn good, right? So why not try and emulate those experiences and feelings?

If you ran a marathon once and loved the feeling you had afterwards, start training for another one. If your child grew up to be a star athlete or musician because of your teachings, then be a coach or mentor for other kids.

Continue to do the things that have been most fulfilling for you.

3. If my life had absolutely no limits, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

Here’s a cool exercise: Think about what you would do if you had no limits.

If you had all the money and time in the world, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you spend time with?

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These answers can help you figure out what you want to do with your life. It doesn’t mean you need millions of dollars to be happy though.

What it does mean is answering these questions will help you set goals to reach certain milestones and create a path toward happiness and fulfillment. Which leads to our next question …

4. What are my goals in life?

Goals are a necessary component to set you up for a happy future. So answer these questions:

Once you figure out the answers to each of these, you’ll have a much better idea of what you should do with your life.

5. Whom do I admire most in the world?

Following the path of successful people can set you up for success.

Think about the people you respect and admire most. What are their best qualities? Why do you respect them? What can you learn from them?

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You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.[1] So don’t waste your time with people who hold you back from achieving your dreams.

Spend more time with happy, successful, optimistic people and you’ll become one of them.

6. What do I not like to do?

An important part of figuring out what you want to do with your life is honestly assessing what you don’t want to do.

What are the things you despise? What bugs you the most about your current job?

Maybe you hate meetings even though you sit through 6 hours of them every day. If that’s the case, find a job where you can work more independently.

The point is, if you want something to change in your life, you need to take action. Which leads to our final question …

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7. How hard am I willing to work to get what I want?

Great accomplishments never come easy. If you want to do great things with your life, you’re going to have to make a great effort. That will probably mean putting in more hours the average person, getting outside your comfort zone and learning as much as you can to achieve as much as you can.

But here’s the cool part: it’s often the journey that is the most fulfilling part. It’s during these seemingly small, insignificant moments that you’ll often find that “aha” moments that helps you answer the question,

“What do I want to do with my life?”

So take the first step toward improving your life. You won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Ly via unsplash.com

Reference

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