If you’re a person of above-average intelligence, you might find yourself socializing less than your peers, leading to concerns about the normalcy and acceptability of your social behavior. A study published in the British Journal of Psychology sheds light on this phenomenon, suggesting that intelligent individuals tend to derive less pleasure from regular social engagement, a trait attributed to evolutionary psychology.
The study, which surveyed participants aged 18 to 28, revealed that those who frequented social gatherings and lived in densely populated areas reported lower levels of enjoyment. The “savannah theory” proposed in the study posits that the factors contributing to happiness today remain consistent with those that prevailed at the dawn of civilization. Intelligent individuals, the theory suggests, possess a greater capacity to adapt to modern challenges and are more inclined to pursue meaningful lives independently, without relying on a strong sense of tribal connection.
In essence, intelligent individuals prefer to socialize less because they don’t require a tribal connection to find purpose in life. They are more likely to choose to follow their own path, prioritizing individual pursuits over a need for belonging. This trait is seen as an adaptation of our hunter-gatherer brains suited to a time when smaller populations and groups of approximately 150 individuals fostered survival through essential social connections.
The study also aligns with the concept of the “urban-rural happiness gradient,” indicating that happiness levels are often higher in smaller towns than in larger cities. In smaller settings, people thrive in more intimate social interactions, fostering a sense of belonging and community. Unlike larger cities where one might feel lost in the crowd, smaller towns emphasize personal connections over achievements or outward appearances.
Ultimately, intelligent individuals are more likely to prioritize a small number of deep, sincere connections over extensive socializing. They tend to find fulfillment in their own hobbies and pursuits rather than seeking validation through social conformity.