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Smarter people prefer having less friends

Smarter people prefer having less friends

September 12, 2022

One of the most popular stereotypes about exceptionally intelligent people indicates that, in general, they tend to relate to fewer people and find pleasure in moments of loneliness . Of course, it is only a stereotype, and it is clear that there can be many people with a great intellect who are also especially sociable and who like to interact with many people who are little known.

However, a study by the London School of Economics in collaboration with the Singapore Management University indicates that this myth could reflect a real statistical trend.

High CI, few friends: against the current

In particular, this research has found a negative correlation between people's IQ and their propensity to spend time interacting with others . That is to say, that the most intelligent individuals do not need to have a very active social life to feel good and, in fact, they can be opposed if they are forced to do so.


This trend is inverse to that which occurs in people with low intelligence or an IQ very close to the population mean, judging by the results of statistical analysis. In this sense, those who show greater intelligence go against the current.

What was the investigation?

The study conducted by this team did not focus exactly on the issue of intelligence, but on how a set of variables affects the feeling of satisfaction with life that is carried. That is to say, with what we might call "happiness".

Psychologists Satoshi Kanazawa and Norman Li studied a large-scale survey involving some 15,000 people between 18 and 28 years old and point to the fact that, in general, the level of satisfaction with one's life tends to be high in people with a more active social life , while it goes down in people who live in more densely populated areas.


A rarity among the smartest people

However, when they focused on studying people with a higher IQ, they saw that in these the correlation between happiness and frequency of social interactions was negative. Contrary to what happened with the rest of the population, especially smart people who were more related to other people showed lower levels of satisfaction than those who had more times alone.

That is to say, judging from these results, the more intelligent people tend to be more satisfied with their lives if they maintain few social interactions with others, which would make that if they can choose, they would prefer to relate fewer times and with fewer people. While respondents generally valued the possibility of relating to many people (provided it was not crowded), the more intelligent individuals did not seem to show this need.


Why does this happen?

Kanazawa and Li adopt the perspective of evolutionary psychology to explain why smarter people seem to go against the grain when assessing an active social life.

According to his explanation, based on the call savanna theory, this phenomenon may have to do with the way in which the brain of our evolutionary lineage has evolved during the last million years.

When it began to form in a large brain that defines the genus Homo, the life of the species that composed it had to pass in large open spaces, similar to savannahs with scattered groves, in which the population density was minimal and it was necessary to live all day with other members of the family or the tribe to be able to survive

But nevertheless, Smarter individuals would be more prepared to adapt to challenges on their own and adapt to new situations without the help of others, so being constantly accompanied by others would lead to fewer benefits. Hence, they did not show the same propensity to be constantly accompanied and that they even tended to look for more moments to be alone.


8 Signs You're Way Smarter Than People Around (September 2022).


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