Science has the explanation to a lot of mysteries in life. In fact, science’s ability to explain phenomena is not limited to physical or material reality. It has also been used to successfully explain abstract emotions and feelings. For instance, science has established, beyond doubt that doing physical exercise helps a person relax and even reduces anxiety.
Another piece of valuable information regarding the use of social media and emotional well-being has been very helpful to me and I’ve found that the lesser time I spend on my phone, the happier I feel.
There are a few other facts regarding our mental and emotional health for which we have to be thankful to science. Did you know that when you spend time in nature, you feel sheer joy? And the quality and quantity of time spent with friends brings you contentment. I’m pretty sure most of you would agree with all these conclusions.
However, there will be some people who’d disagree on the latter point. There are people who actually like to spend time alone and being with friends, no matter how good they are, is draining for them. And guess what? Science has an explanation for that as well.
The British Journal Of Psychology published a paper which claims that high intellectual people like to spend their time alone. Norman Li and Satoshi Kanazawa, the authors of this paper have used Evolutionary Psychology as the basis for their thesis. According to this, for evolution solving unique challenges was an important part of survival. The more heads involved, the better are the chances of survival. Those who were able to solve these problems on their own didn’t feel the need of others to feel happy or safe.
In other words, people who are highly intelligent don’t feel the evolutionary need to be surrounded by friends.
Population density, intelligence, friendship in the modern times
For this paper, Norman Li and Satoshi Kanazawa surveyed nearly 16000 people. The focus group was between the age group of 18 to 28 years. This survey was done under the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. This survey is conducted to measure the health, intelligence and life satisfaction of people. The conclusion of this survey was that people are more happy and content when they spend time with their friends. In opposition being around a large group, is usually related with unhappiness. But in the case of highly intelligent people, neither of these observations hold true. They prefer to be alone.
The Savannah theory of happiness
This theory takes into account the human evolution before we moved from a hunter gatherer lifestyle to an agricultural one. Our brain is developed for living in large forest areas, foraging for sustenance. Our current lifestyle is in direct opposition of this and that’s the reason for growing unhappiness among the population. The population density is concentrated in small areas and we are usually surrounded by strangers; getting less time to socialize with our friends. So in order to be happy, people seek meaningful friendships and don’t prefer large crowds, like their ancestors would have preferred. But those whose intelligence is more evolved than the rest of us are not bothered by this and are happy to be left on their own.
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Why exactly do Intelligent people prefer being alone?
Intelligence, like other survival skills, is based on the principle of adaptation. Those who adapted well to the challenges thrown their way, found it easier to solve them on their own; thus eliminating the need for companionship. This is why highly intelligent people thrive in urban settings and frequently migrate to urban areas from rural ones because they don’t suffer depression and unhappiness like their counterparts when they have to do without close companionship in cities and urban centers.
Still doesn’t mean that intelligent people are inherently loners
The fact that intelligent people don’t need to stay in tight knit groups doesn’t mean that they are incapable of friendships. It is just that they are better adapted to live in dense populations with little close contact. This doesn’t mean that they don’t value or form meaningful bonds. Alternatively, if someone wants to stay on their own, doesn’t mean that they are lonely. They are just a slightly better specimen of evolution and can do well on their own.