There is a generally accepted idea that socializing with one’s peers tends to equate to increased levels of happiness.

This seems to hold true for the vast majority of people, with the exception of those with high intelligence, according to new research.

A long-term study published in the British Journal of Psychology followed young adults between the ages of 18 and 28, and surveyed their levels of life satisfaction.

In particular, the study looked at the density of the population and levels of socializing as it related to reported feelings of happiness and life satisfaction.

Overall, the results showed that people living in less densely populated areas were more satisfied with life; for example, those living in small rural towns reported higher levels of satisfaction than those living in cities.

The other unsurprising correlation was between the amount of time spent socializing and levels of life satisfaction, with findings showing that the more people socialized, the happier they tended to be. The study uncovered just one exception: those with high levels of intelligence were happier with less socializing.

The study’s authors gave one possible explanation for their findings on these ‘smart loners’; that high intelligence tends to come with an increased focus on long-term goals and projects, and that too much socializing may in fact be a distraction from these types of satisfying life projects.

The authors went further to suggest that higher intelligence might give smarter people an advantage in adapting to our modern world, citing that these people would be better able to adapt to the new, less pack-oriented way of living emerging today.

Perhaps the real answer lies somewhere in between. Some social bonding is always going to be an important factor in happiness, but too much can have a similarly numbing effect as any other forms of addictions and distractions, serving to keep us from discovering and pursuing our true passions and purpose.

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Sources:

http://www.spring.org.uk/2016/03/the-reason-smart-people-tend-to-be-loners.php

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjop.12181/abstract