Does the unexpected sound of your doorbell send you into an expected tizzy of irritation? Do you sometimes dream of living the life of a hermit? If this sounds like you, I have good news. You’re not anti-social. In fact, you just might be a genius!
The NCBI Study
According to a recent study by the NCBI this may be a strategy unconsciously used by people who are highly intelligent to increase their life satisfaction.
According to lead researchers Satoshi Kanazawa and Norman Li, for those seeking happiness, the “hermit in the woods” strategy might be the way to go – especially for people who are highly intelligent. Through thorough research, these evolutionary psychologists were able to determine that human beings are happier living in less densely populated areas.
They also found that happiness increases when a greater percentage of our social interactions are with our most dearly loved ones, as opposed to strangers, casual friends, or acquaintances.
Most of the participants of the study reported being happier through their social interactions, except for one group. Highly intelligent people tend to want a frugal social life. They have a tendency to associate only with those who truly matter to them.
Carol Graham, who studies the economics of happiness, examined this effect in a Washington Post article. “The findings 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 socializing because they are focused on some other longer-term objective.”
In other words, that nerd who says they have better things to do than hang out with friends is actually on to something.
Evolutionary psychologists have thus developed the ‘Savannah Theory’ to explain this phenomenon. This theory proposes that we find happiness in the same things that would have made our ancestors happy.
In the Savannah, population density would have been low, and interpersonal interaction would have been incredibly important for survival. But how does that explain this behaviour of intelligent people?
People often forget that evolution is a continuous process. The timeframe of evolution moves over at least hundred thousand years which is why it may not be discernible to the human eye. Yet, evolution isn’t just some crusty old theory by Darwin. It is a process which continues to shape the natural world including us.
Intelligent people may actually be evolving past the need to have frequent social interactions as our society goes through a dramatic shift and we begin moulding our environment (and even live in virtual worlds).
Instead, they are beginning to favour activities which promote our advancement in the modern world – which tend to be more intellectually and economically based. We need interaction less than our ancestors did, so the most highly evolved human beings have ceased to prioritize it.
If you rarely hit the club, and stay home and chill instead, you are not antisocial. You’re revolutionary ground breaker. You are smart!