Are you someone that shies away from big groups? That would rather live on a secluded mountainside than in a big city? Would you rather read than party?
If that sounds like you, it may not be that you’re anti-social – but rather that you’re just more intelligent than most people.
As noted by a recent NCBI study, highly intelligent people tend to live more secluded lives, preferring fewer social interactions.
Relatedly, the same study found that human beings lived happier lives in less densely populated areas, and when a higher percentage of our interactions are with the people we’re closest to, rather than with strangers or mere acquaintances.
The people who preferred the least social interaction? Also happened to be the most intelligent.
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 interpreting the results of this study, evolutionary psychologists found great significance in this dynamic in relation to the “Savannah Theory.”
This theory proposes that we find happiness in the same things that would have made our ancestors happy. On the savannah, population density would have been low, and interpersonal interaction would have been incredibly important for survival.
This study’s results, although ultimately in support of this theory, suggest that the most highly intelligent of human beings may be evolving past the need for very frequent social interaction. Instead, they are beginning to favor 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.