Lion of the Blogosphere

Very smart people happier with less socializing

According to this academic article, most people are happier the more time they spend socializing with friends, but the opposite is true for those who are very intelligent. The abstract says “More intelligent individuals experience lower life satisfaction with more frequent socialization with friends.”

Unfortunately, the article is behind a paywall so I can’t read the details.

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“james n.s.w” has the following comment (definitely safe for work):

I have a feeling this might just be because ‘very smart’ people often have a lot of difficulty meeting people just like them, on account of the fact that they are so smart people within their intellectual range are very rare. Somebody with normal or below average intelligence living in a town where everyone had an IQ of 135 and above would feel out of place and less inclined to socialize, too. I don’t buy it that weird and different people don’t crave socialization, it’s just they have difficulty finding people who they click with so they just give up and feel dissatisfied with the people they are forced to compromise on.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 18, 2016 at 9:05 am

Posted in Biology, Psychology

36 Responses

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  1. i have a feeling this might just be because ‘very smart’ people often have a lot of difficulty meeting people just like them, on account of the fact that they are so smart people within their intellectual range are very rare. somebody with normal or below average intelligence living in a town where everyone had an IQ of 135 and above would feel out of place and less inclined to socialise, too. i don’t buy it that weird and different people people don’t crave socialisation, its just they have difficulty finding people who they click with so they just give up and feel dissatisfied with the people they are forced to compromise on.

    james n.s.w

    November 18, 2016 at 9:18 am

    • Great comment. This seems likely to me as well. Generally supported by the social experience of most nerds from small towns — they have a rough time in high school, and then blossom socially at college where there are more intelligent people than they’ve ever been around.


      November 18, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      • It’s also difficult to find people who understand you when you quote Otis the Sweaty, with attribution. Their eyes tend to glaze over. I’ve had that happen at parties.


        November 18, 2016 at 3:02 pm

  2. It also says population density is negatively correlated with life satisfaction, so time for the Lion to find his blonde nature-painting-loving wife in Reno.


    November 18, 2016 at 9:19 am

    • Gotta get married first. Reno is a very lonely place for singles. Hard to find non-smokers, too.


      November 18, 2016 at 8:05 pm

  3. Ungated here:

    I doubt this. First of all, this is all self-report, so is likely very noisy. Noisy measurements create spurious relationships when there are in fact none.


    November 18, 2016 at 9:23 am

  4. I’m not very smart, only have an estimated 117 IQ, and it may be even lower than that, but I have always found I needed a huge amount of “alone time” relative to other people. Although I also am a very low energy individual so that also probably plays a part.

    Otis the Sweaty

    November 18, 2016 at 9:24 am

    • Your uncanny ability to sniff out TruCons wherever they’re hiding would have made me guess that your IQ is much higher than 117. TruCon radar might be something Howard Gardner should consider adding to theory of multiple intelligences.

      Horace Pinker

      November 18, 2016 at 10:10 am

      • Otis is right about nationalism and Trucons. We are as or more likely to find allies among the Democrats than among Republicans for patriotic immigration reform. Trucons believe in adopting every black kid on earth, even ones with live parents.


        November 18, 2016 at 3:04 pm

      • I 100% agree with Otis about the need to eradicate the TruCon menace, but somehow I’ve missed his thoughts on finding allies among the democrats. My comment wasn’t meant as an insult, either. I do think his posts suggest an IQ that’s higher than 117.

        Horace Pinker

        November 18, 2016 at 3:37 pm

  5. Here is an article on how a high IQ person and the world relate to each other:

    Shelia Delphin

    November 18, 2016 at 9:39 am

    • Not all that impressive — she’s a cook who apparently harasses her workmates with difficult cocktail party questions (“How about the Meiji Restoration. Any insights, Pedro?”) and they don’t like her, or at least can’t relate to her. But perhaps the author bio at the end explains it:

      Judith Gabrielle
      Convicted murderer, escapee, 15 years in Max; fmr militant atheist given miracle

      What’s missing is doing something with all that IQ. For whatever reason, extremely intelligent people often seem to end up in these failed lives. Perhaps not as extreme as this particular case though.


      November 18, 2016 at 12:58 pm

  6. Agree with james to some extent, although I think intelligence is correlated with introversion, so there may be some truth to the paper as well.


    November 18, 2016 at 9:41 am

  7. People with these levels of intelligence think in dialectic and utility more than rhetoric and triviality.

    Theres also a testosterone component. Less testosterone…les extroversion.

    Also your neuro leaninh matters. Asperger engineers are not as sociable as classicists or philosophy students.

    The Philosopher

    November 18, 2016 at 9:53 am

    • You’re on to something about the neuro lean being important. Bright people with a liberal arts bent are probably more sociable, but often have strategies for how to be sociable. I majored in classics and philosophy and like to consider myself bright, so this is just from my experience as an introverted egghead. The first is breaking down social situations and figuring out systems that work. It’s a training exercise reliant on trial and error along with abstracting patterns instead of naturally going with the flow like normies. Personally, I have a “social mode” switch that I flip when I have to interact with groups of people. Second, alcohol is a great social lubricant when used in moderation. The downside is that it can be difficult to only use booze moderately and, in my experience, very intelligent social people often have some dependence. Third, learn enough about a middle of the road general interest topic in order to carry on a conversation with most people. I live in the South, so I got into college football because most people here on any intelligence level have opinions about football. Reading social cues from there helps me to figure out how high or low to take the conversation and I can usually squeeze a few minutes of talk out of sports.


      November 18, 2016 at 12:01 pm

      • Yeah, agreed Aris.

        I actually keep up to date on the Premiership for the same reason!

        The Philosopher

        November 18, 2016 at 1:42 pm

  8. YES! I agree SO much.


    November 18, 2016 at 9:59 am

  9. Socializing is entertainment just like watching television and video games. And like television and video game it’s a big fat waste of time. That’s part of the reason it leaves people dissatisfied. They know they wasted time that could have been used more productively. But people evolved to be social. So they do it anyway.


    November 18, 2016 at 11:55 am

    • Taking the broader outlook, you could just as easily argue everything, including being “productive”, is a big fat waste of time.

      Jokah Macpherson

      November 18, 2016 at 2:48 pm

  10. Surely “n.s.w.” is an australian thing, by the way.


    November 18, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    • yeah i’m from new south wales, though the non-regulars (and probably a lot of the regulars) don’t know that.

      james n.s.w

      November 18, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      • I am also named James and used to live in NSW. So there!


        November 18, 2016 at 10:56 pm

  11. If you’re a little too clever for your own good, it’s possible you look on the world from afar and fail to see why all that frantic scurrying about merits the effort. No matter how far you get promoted, everyone will forget you two hours after you retire with a golden watch…and that was the good old days.
    I suspect why many high IQ people are underachievers is they are not motivated by objectives that obsess people with more straightforward mindsets. Social isolation just reinforces that they have no stake in the game others play.

    Giovanni Dannato

    November 18, 2016 at 2:48 pm

  12. I see the study is co-authored by Satoshi Kanazawa. Now there’s a name I haven’t heard in a while…


    November 18, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    • Satoshi Kanazawa also believes in omega male rage from an Islamic context, saying that Islam encourages a winner takes all mentality, when it comes to women, and those who cannot find a mate, will turn to violence, and neither the Qur’an condones nor criticizes it, but Jihad is just a mask for pent up male incelness. The point he was trying to make is that men will become sociopaths to impress women. I just found his Islamic masturbation fluff unnecessary.


      December 15, 2016 at 1:52 pm

  13. I think that generally more intelligent people spend more time being alone because they have many solitary entertainments available – reading, writing, thinking, creating and Europa Universalis IV. Less intelligent people sometimes feel uncomfortable with pursuits that have a cultural loading, reading a tabloid is fine, but reading poetry is not (please understand this is a vast generalisation, certain working class communities through time have been very focussed on improving their station through learning – an example here in the UK would be coal miners – but those old communties are less prevalent now and there is a celebrity culture that to some extent celebrates facets such as appearance rather than education).

    Even if you are intelligent, unless you have an antisocial personality you don’t mind being around less intelligent people. Those who cannot tolerate the less intelligent tend to place too much importantance on their own intelligence, which has made them arrogant and aloof. They tend to praise intelligence, rather than outcomes – so they have worth in and of themselves for their innate intelligence, but what they do in the world matters less, they are the master race.

    The intelligent can reason quicker, but they have no monopoly on wisdom, often you get clearly extremely intelligent people believing demonstrably extremely unlikely things.

    Well that’s the way I see it and I have been down this rabbit hole.


    November 18, 2016 at 2:56 pm

  14. Thanks God for blogging then. It’s a less intrusive socializing.
    You can easily ignore those you want to ignore.


    November 18, 2016 at 3:52 pm

  15. Smart people like

    Thin-Skinned Masta-Beta

    November 18, 2016 at 4:59 pm

  16. In Proust’s second volume Marcel spends a page or three telling us friendship is a waste of time for the artist, that the artist’s duty is to delve deep within his own soul, and that this is more pleasurable to the artist than yakking it up with “friends.”


    November 18, 2016 at 6:33 pm

  17. Unfortunately most people cannot beat the “is this person more interesting than the book I’m reading at home” test, and thus socializing with them causes me dissatisfaction.


    November 18, 2016 at 10:55 pm

  18. All socializing (especially at work) is highly restrained and superficial. It’s a mockery of a free speech.

    A smart red-piller would like to be direct and talk about how he loves Trump, thinks work is for chumps and there should be BGI, and how women should be barefoot and pregnant. Can he say it let alone find someone who’d understand or agree?

    On the other hand, work libs and bitches can mutter their bullshit with impunity around the workplace.


    November 19, 2016 at 11:40 am

    • Women definitely shouldn’t be barefoot, unless they’re at the beach.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 19, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    • Swpl says, “our bodies have evolved to walk barefooted and using shoes leads to all sorts of health issues not only related to foot issues, but issues related to all parts of the body.”

      Also, you can be fired for just saying something positive about Trump even if you didn’t vote for him. Meanwhile, it’s okay to talk about all sorts of debaucherous crap at work.


      November 21, 2016 at 2:53 am

  19. Intelligent people are better at entertaining themselves with their minds compared to dullards. Intelligent people are like uncircumcised penises that generate lots of pleasure with minimal stimulation; they can spend endless hours alone in their minds theorizing and generating all sorts of ideas even if all this thinking doesn’t lead to much action. But when a genius uses their mind to constsntly create incredible works of art or whatever, that genius becomes multi-orgasmic and cums and cums and cums. Elon Musk is likely on a prolonged dopamine rush with all his ingenious ideas and development of products.


    November 21, 2016 at 2:46 am

  20. Just use sci-hub/libgen and search for the doi, most academic papers are available there,,,


    November 21, 2016 at 11:00 am

  21. If the person with whom you are socializing is of a comparable IQ, socializing is great even for smart individuals as it will be an effortless channel for communication and learning from the other person. In other words, it can be a form of ‘fun’ learning (from each other through conversation and other social interaction) and experimenting (ie: with how you+your friend choose to interact with the external environment).

    As soon as the IQ gap gets to be significant, the relationship becomes an exercise in social adaptation away from the higher IQ person’s natural modes of communicating.

    This is work for the higher IQ person, results in little learning (and thus fails to result in the novelty induced dopamine spike that characterizes all addiction and ‘fun’ experiences), and it becomes cognitively exhausting over time.

    Thus you might see smarter individuals begin to choose isolation over social interaction, to avoid the unrewarding and cognitively tiring work of social adaptation, once their higher IQ friendship choices either fail to manifest or diminish.

    This dynamic is a compelling reason as to why affirmative action inspired NAM infringement on gifted programs has to stop. They’re attempting to corrupt not only an academic environment that higher IQ children require, but a rare social environment that is important for their mental health and development.

    If we can agree that the above is something to consider in regard to gifted programs, then we can extend the logic to higher IQ work environments that are affected by affirmative action hires that will on-average corrupt the social and intellectual tone of the work environment.

    Last: this dynamic likely also reflects a core argument against multiculturalism, as well as explains its socially isolating effects.


    November 21, 2016 at 6:07 pm

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