Cleverer People Prefer Spending More Time Alone, Study Suggests

by : Tom Percival on : 15 Mar 2018 19:03

Do you ever feel guilty for neglecting your friends or for choosing to spend the evening home relaxing by yourself? Well don’t, because there may be a good reason you like being alone. 


According to a study in the British Journal of Psychology, the desire to be alone is just part and parcel of being smart and real cleverclogs of the world experience the most happiness when completely alone.

The study, written by Norman P. Li and Satoshi Kanazawa, found almost everyone’s levels of happiness increased in correlation to a decrease in population density, as well as with a high level of social interaction with loved ones.


Yet interestingly, more intelligent individuals experience lower life satisfaction with more frequent socialization with friends.


They theorise the reason for this is, back when our ancestors were hunter-gatherers, the more intelligent among us could deal with the challenges of being alone better than those who were a bit dumber.

This led to smart people not valuing relationships as much as others and eventually, a weird natural selection, leading to smarter individuals being less social.

Don’t go thinking just because you’re anti-social you’re automatically a genius.

Vice put some real work into getting to the bottom of this particular study and they found it wasn’t as clear-cut as Li and Kanazawa’s study found.

Ann Clarkson, the communications manager for MENSA, said part of the study’s findings most likely come down to personality and ‘you can have gregarious people with high IQ as well as introverted people with a high IQ’.


That said, she did say she could see why smart people may struggle with socialising.


She explained: 

It’s also recognised that very intelligent people can sometimes feel isolated from those around them just because they think and see the world differently.

Finding someone else who processes information as you do can be difficult if your brain works the same as only two percent of the population.

Of course, the way MENSA defines intelligence isn’t the only way the world defines intelligence, so what about those who are with a high creative intelligence or emotional intelligence?

This is where Dr. Robert Sternberg, a professor of human development at Cornell University, comes in.

He agreed with Ann Clarkson to an extent, as he can see highly intelligent people struggling to deal with less exceptional people bringing them down.


Yet he also argues how intelligence isn’t always a boon, saying:

High (academic) intelligence is only poorly correlated with social, emotional, and practical intelligence.

Ironically, the smart person who does not want to interact with others may be the person who most needs to interact with others to succeed in life.

There are just so many high-IQ people who can’t translate that IQ into worldly success, or who do so in ways that are less than fully productive.

There you go.

Tom Percival

More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism. Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV. He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.

Topics: Life


  1. Vice

    Only Stupid People Have Lots of Friends