It seems like the science has provided proves for what can make a human happy. For the ones that are pretty nervous or anxious, exercise – this will help your body to relax. Reduce social media use if you want to elevate your emotional health. Be in touch with nature- it will bring you joy.
Most of the people are feeling pleased when they are surrounded by friends.
And, if you are not considered as a “highly” intelligent, friends will make you happier.
These assertions are supported by a research conducted by Norman Li and Satoshi Kanazawa. Those two had paper published the results of their exploration in the British Journal of Psychology. The article is trying to explain how the highly intelligent people can reach higher life satisfaction if they reduce the time spent to socialize with their friends.
The logic explanation behind this is that people with higher IQ`s usually tend to solve the problems on their own, without any need of help from others. This is supported by the evolutionary psychology, indicating that intelligence evolves as a quality for solving given problems.
So, we can make a conclusion that people are feeling happier when being with friends, except for the more intelligent people, who are happier being alone.
The article below explains why.
How intelligence, population density, and friendship affect modern happiness
The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health made a survey to measure the intelligence, health and life satisfaction which included 15,197 people between the ages of 18 and 28. The data were then analyzed in intention to explain how those tree states affect human happiness.
Inverse had published one of their main findings: “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.”That’s correct: being along friends raises the level of happiness unless you’re not the smartest in the group.
The “savanna theory of happiness”
The researchers are calling on the “savanna theory of happiness” to back up their findings. The theory goes way back in time, trying to prove that the happiness of the people is not based only on the facts that are happening in the present, but we should also take in consideration how our ancestors could have reacted in the present conditions.
This theory, being part of the evolutionary psychology, claims that the human brain is greatly designed and adjusted to the conditions of the environment, way before we established an agricultural based society. For this particular reason, they are claiming that our brain is not well integrated into the conditions of modern society.
An analysis was made of the two main factors that are essential to the modern society:
- Population density
- How frequently humans socialize with their friends
Nowadays, most of the people live in places of a higher population density, that is quite opposite of the type of life our ancestors had, so now we are able to spend more time being along friends. Keeping this in mind, researchers claim that people will reach higher points of satisfaction in life if they follow the rules that are naturally given to them: be with fewer people and spend more time with friends.
However, researchers cannot relate this philosophy to people with higher IQ.
As the author Kanazawa states : “In general, more intelligent individuals are more likely to have ‘unnatural’ preferences and values that our ancestors did not have,” “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.”
The results are indicating that besides the fact that intelligent people don’t think they can benefit much from friendships, they still socialize more often than other people.
Explaining why highly intelligent people act alone
The main point here is answering the question why the quality of intelligence was adapted by humans.
Evolutionary psychology is based on the theory that the intelligence is developed as a psychological trait to solve problems. Back in time, our ancestors had a real need to develop friendships, so they can help them to ensure survival. However, humans with higher intelligence tend to act alone when solving their problems, without the help of any others. This fact reduces the level of importance of friendship for them.
This leads us to the conclusion that the ability to solve the problems on their own indicates that the person is more intelligent than others.
Historically, humans have lived in groups of around 150: the usual Neolithic village was about this size. Densely populated urban cities, on the other hand, are believed to bring out isolation and depression because they make it difficult to foster close relationships.
Yet, a busy and alienating place has less of a negative impact on more intelligent people. That may explain why highly ambitious people gravitate from rural areas to the cities.
“In general, urbanites have higher average intelligence than ruralites do, possibly because more intelligent individuals are better able to live in ‘unnatural’ settings of high population density,” says Kanazawa.
Naturally, back in time, people lived in smaller groups: the Neolithic village was about 150 people in size. Nowadays, the cities are densely populated, so this is believed that brings out isolation and depression, because it’s far more difficult for people to make closer connections in bigger areas.
However, this type of surrounding doesn’t have much affection to the happiness of highly intelligent people. This may be the explanation why they move from rural areas to the cities.
As a supporter of the theory, Kanazawa says: “In general, urbanites have higher average intelligence than ruralites do, possibly because more intelligent individuals are better able to live in ‘unnatural’ settings of high population density,”
Your nature of being around friends doesn’t make you less intelligent
The results of the findings shouldn’t be considered as causations. Therefore, if you like being around friends, doesn’t mean you are less intelligent.
A highly intelligent human can also be a “chameleon”- he can feel comfortable in many situations. The results of the survey only prove the correlation between higher intelligent people and crowded cities.