Most of us equate happiness with the company of others. However, does real happiness come with constant socializing?
According to a study published in the British Journal of Psychology, the answer is no. To dive deeper into this subject, consider picking up “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain.
When we are living in a big city, more often than not, we end up spending more time with others. But, the study in question says that people who live in the city are often dissatisfied with their lives. Especially if those people are of higher intelligence.
Most of us equate happiness with the company of others. However, does real happiness come with constant socializing? For those seeking to explore the depths of solitude, “Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World” by Michael Harris might resonate.
For the study, researchers followed a group of people aged 18-28 years old, and what they found was while most of the group enjoyed a life that was fulfilled by socializing, those of the group that had higher measurements of happiness were less happy in the company of others.
According to the researchers, intelligence has evolved to solve the unique challenges we face as humans. And the more intelligent members of a large group can problem-solve with little help from others. For a comprehensive exploration on human intelligence, “The Intelligence Paradox: Why the Intelligent Choice Isn’t Always the Smart One” by Satoshi Kanazawa provides an insightful perspective.
The study’s findings read as follows:
“Analysis of this data revealed that being around dense crowds of people typically leads to unhappiness while socializing with friends typically leads to happiness – that is unless the person in question is highly intelligent.”
Over 15,000 individuals were followed through the course of this study, and each of them was asked what they enjoyed about spending time with others.
Another reason behind their findings, they assert, has to do with the “Savanna Theory of Happiness” which says that hundreds of thousands of years ago, most people did not meet strangers regularly.
On the contrary, there were small groups.
According to this theory, our happiness now originates from very similar placements to our ancestors.
In modern times, we live in much more populated areas than we once did and spend less time with the people we love. In turn, we spend more time with people that we simply don’t connect with, which ultimately doesn’t work with more highly-evolved brains.
“In general, more intelligent individuals are more likely to have ‘unnatural’ preferences and values that our ancestors did not have,” Satoshi Kanazawa, a lead researcher on the study, explains. “It is extremely natural for species like humans to seek and desire friendships and, as a result, more intelligent individuals are likely to seek them less.”
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