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Mondo Fuego™
The Fewer Friends You Have, The Smarter You Are-Says Science
Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:14am

This is so ME and JuJu ... we know a lot of people, and we am gregarious once a year when we invite 60-80 people to Thanksgiving Dinner at our home, but the rest of the time, JuJu and I are busy in our own little creative world, and we hang with family mostly, which involves a significant number of people, sometimes too many. We rarely vacation with other people ... it's not relaxing ... in fact, it just sux.

Oh, and fluff stuff like FarceBook, ET (Entertainment Tonight), and People Magazine are just the kiss of death for intelligent folk.

What's your take? Perhaps you see yourself in this picture too.

I used to have a lot of friends. In fact, one of my friends recently commented on how easy it is for me to make friends. This may have been true once, but I'm not so sure of my friend-making abilities these days.

I'm not very confident in my friend-keeping abilities. If you compared the number of good friends I have now to the amount I had five years ago, there would be a huge difference. I have fewer friendships than I used to.

I'm going to take comfort in a study published in the British Journal of Psychology (see below **) that says smarter people do better with a smaller amount of friends.

Lead researchers, Satoshi Kanazawa and Norman Li, evolutionary psychologists in England, found that, while most people's happiness increased in relation to a decrease in population density (as well as a high percentage of interactions with loved ones), people who are extremely intelligent are actually happier when they're not hanging out with friends.

"More intelligent individuals experience lower life satisfaction with more frequent socialization with friends," the study said.

In an article on The Washington Post, Carol Graham, a Brookings Institute researcher who studies the economics of happiness, said, "The findings 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."

It makes sense. Super-smart people usually have exciting new theories they want to prove, or inventions they're working on that will change the world. The highly intelligent don't want to spend their time socializing — they want to pursue their goals. They've got more important things to do than listen to their friends talk about their vacations in Italy over dinner.

The study suggests that the brains of our hunter-gatherer ancestors were perfectly adapted to life on the African savannah, where the population would have been scattered, with people living in groups of around 150. Social interaction would have been extremely important in order to survive, especially in terms of co-operation and finding a mate, but space would have been crucial as well.

The researchers believe that there may be an incongruity between the way we've evolved and the quickly paced lives we lead. Highly intelligent individuals are better able to adapt to modern life, and they're not as tied to humanity's evolutionary predilections. This means they don't have as much of a need for social interaction.

So if you only have a few close friends and prefer to stay at home working on your writing or enjoying a glass of wine by yourself, don't despair. You're probably just really smart.

This article was written by Christine Schoenwald from YourTango and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to


British Journal of Psychology (2016), 107, 675–697

Country roads, take me my friends:
How intelligence, population density, and
friendship affect modern happiness

Norman P. Li (1) and Satoshi Kanazawa (2)*

*(1) School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University, Singapore
(2) Managerial Economics and Strategy Group, Department of Management, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

We propose the savanna theory of happiness, which suggests that it is not only the current consequences of a given situation but also its ancestral consequences that
affect individuals’ life satisfaction and explains why such influences of ancestral consequences might interact with intelligence. We choose two varied factors that
characterize basic differences between ancestral and modern life – population density and frequency of socialization with friends – as empirical test cases. As predicted by
the theory, population density is negatively, and frequency of socialization with friends is positively, associated with life satisfaction. More importantly, the main associations of life satisfaction with population density and socialization with friends significantly interact with intelligence, and, in the latter case, the main association is reversed among the extremely intelligent. More intelligent individuals experience
lower life satisfaction with more frequent socialization with friends
. This study highlights the utility of incorporating evolutionary perspectives in the study of
subjective well-being.

Positive psychology and evolutionary psychology are two subfields of psychology that have made significant advances in the last few decades (Cosmides & Tooby, 2013;
Diener, 2012). While several evolutionary psychologists have written on happiness (Buss, 2000; Hill & Major, 2013; Lewis, Al-Shawaf, Russell, & Buss, 2015; Nesse, 2004),
with only a couple of exceptions (Diener, Kanazawa, Suh, & Oishi, 2015; Heintzelman & King, 2014), positive psychologists have not drawn on insights from evolutionary
psychology. At the same time, while positive psychologists have accumulated an impressive amount of empirical knowledge in the last few decades about who is happier
than whom, when, and how, there are few systematic general theories of happiness – evolutionary or otherwise – that can explain why some individuals are happier than
others. In this study, we propose an evolutionary psychological theory of subjective well-being that we call the savanna theory of happiness, and provide empirical support for the theory.

*Correspondence should be addressed to Satoshi Kanazawa, Managerial Economics and Strategy Group, Department of
Management, London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, UK (email:

(NOTE: You have to pay to read the whole article.)

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