New Study Reveals the Real Reason Why Smart People Are Better Off Alone

Published by
Christina Lawson, B.A.

If you’re intelligent, you’re better off alone.

At least, that’s what a recent study in the British Journal of Psychology claims. The question that evolutionary psychologists Kanazawa and Li were looking to answer is what makes a life well-lived and how intelligence, population density and friendship can affect our happiness.

The psychologists theorized that the lifestyle of our ancient ancestors form the basis of what makes us happy in modern times,

“Situations and circumstances that would have increased our ancestors’ life satisfaction in the ancestral environment may still increase our life satisfaction today.”

Their study was carried out on 15,000 adults aged between 18 – 28 and their results weren’t actually all that surprising.

Firstly, their findings showed that people who lived in more densely populated areas were less satisfied with their life in general, compared to those who live in less populated areas.

The second finding that the psychologists discovered was that the more social a person is with their close friends, the greater they said their happiness was.

But there was an exception.

These correlations were diminished or even reversed when the results of intelligent people were analyzed. In other words – when smart people spend time with their friends, it makes them less happy.

Why would intelligent people not gain happiness when they’re around close family and friends? There may be many explanations, including the one given by Carol Graham, a researcher who studies the economics of happiness,

The findings in here 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.

This generally makes sense since those intelligent people are so focused on achieving their intellectual goals, anything that takes away from those ambitions makes them unhappy.

The modern day human life has changed rapidly since our ancestors’ time and with technological advances rapidly improving, there may be a kind of mismatch between our brains and the way our bodies are designed to handle situations, according to Kanazawa and Li.

So there we have it. We thought that human interaction would make people happier, but it turns out intelligent people are better off alone.

What do you think of these recent findings? Do you agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments.

View Comments

  • I am strongly agree with conclusions of your study ?...
    I noticed this before as glimpse but did not gave it attention until I read you article ?...
    Yes it's better to rise your intellectualin loneliness than being in crowd of different energies !!

  • I am highly intelligent (a gifted IQ), my husband is even more so. And we love hanging out with our friends and each other. We are very happy in general. So I guess there are always exceptions to studies but I would be interested in knowing more about the study like sample size, etc.

  • I have been accused of being intelligent... not sure why, but I love time alone. I also realize that a lot of motivation can be gotten from fellowship. This would be spending time with others sharing a common interest or skill. Just partying becomes an easy route to self medication if one has psychological quirks, (such as I have), and easily becomes counter-productive.

  • Please enlighten me, how do you define inteligence? What/who are the inteligent people? Inteligence is defined operationally, so intelligence becames whatever that particular (intelligence) test measures.

    • If you were a bit smarter you would have made a quick search on google and found out about normal distribution.

      • how about skewed distribution? how about you explain what you meant by that statement. and how it answers ariels question.

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Published by
Christina Lawson, B.A.