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Highly Intelligent People Actually Prefer Their Own Company, And There’s An Interesting Reason Why

Is your ideal Saturday night out and about with friends or on your couch with a book or finishing a project? If you are the latter you may just be a highly intelligent individual, not a grinch. 

What is Intelligence?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines intelligence as the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations. Also, the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (1)

highly intelligent people

For a long time, humans thought that they were the only creature that possessed intelligence. That was until Charles Darwin published his book On the Origin of the Species in 1859, where he introduced the theory of evolution through natural selection. Further studies had demonstrated that other species also possess intelligence, in some cases even outperforming humans. Chimpanzees have better short-time memory for numbers than humans. Crows can make tools, whales and dolphins can communicate complex thoughts by sound waves, an octopus can learn by example. Yes, we are not the only intelligent life on the planet. 

Cognitive Intelligence vs Emotional Intelligence.

Before, researchers thought that individuals with a high IQ (Intelligence quotidian) will do better academically, have brilliant careers, and earn more money. In a nutshell, they will have more success in life. Eventually, the same researchers noticed that this high IQ equal success was not always true. It was another crucial factor to consider that composed intelligence: emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is defined as the capacity of identifying emotions, evaluating how others feel, controlling oneself emotions, and relating to others. Nowadays Emotional Intelligence is an important tool that is being incorporated in schools and business programs. (2)

Less Social, More Happy.

Humans are social beings, always have been. From the beginning of time, living among others was crucial for our survival. In groups we felt secure and gathered more resources, even child-rearing was a shared experience. Nowadays we socialize for pleasure more than a need. Socializing is vital for our mental and emotional health, therefore the idea that being less social will make us happy is a strange one for the majority of us. However, for the highly intelligent individual, a less social life equals more happiness. 

Savanna Theory of Happiness

Researchers, Norman P. Li, and Satoshi Kanazawa were investigating the “savannah theory” to measure the relation between the level of happiness with where individuals lived and the amount of social interaction. Their findings showed that individuals living in rural areas were happier than their counterparts that lived in urban jungles. Also, most of the participants showed higher levels of happiness when socializing regularly while it was the opposite for the highly intelligent. (3)

Evolutionary psychologists pointed out that highly intelligent individuals seem to prioritize their interactions based on quality and not quantity. They feel more comfortable when interacting with close friends and family instead of strangers or colleagues. Moreover, they can cope better with loneliness. (4)

So, nothing wrong with being less social and spending a bit of quality time with you. You may just be more intelligent than the rest of us!

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