The survey, conducted by The British Psychological Society, collected data from 15,000 people, ages 18 to 28, about their living situations, socialization, and happiness… And it yielded the results we might expect — at least, for average people.”
Ultimately, psychologists found that people living in cities tended to be less happy than people living in rural areas, and people reported having a “higher life satisfaction” when they saw friends more often.
This is due to what researchers call the “savanna theory of happiness.” We evolved from close-knit, hunter-gatherer tribes — and those communities provided the foundation for what makes people happier now.
Ultimately, your “average person” is happy living in a smaller town and frequently socializing with friends.
However, the opposite is true for highly intelligent people.
Psychologists have different theories as to why this is the case. Perhaps society’s most intelligent people need more space to create and innovate? And maybe taking time away from their intellectual and creative pursuits to socialize detracts from their happiness?
Ultimately, this study brings up more questions than it answers.
Is the unhappiness in cities caused by the urban lifestyle, or are unhappier people actually drawn to city living? And, sure, intelligence and a preference for solitude are correlated, but does one cause the other? Are people smarter because they socialize less or do they socialize less because they’re intelligent?
…We’re going to want to see some more research on this one.