HughPickens.com writes: Christopher Ingraham writes in the Washington Post that a new study finds that when smart people spend more time with their friends, it makes them less happy. "The findings in here 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," says Carol Graham, a Brookings Institution researcher who studies the economics of happiness. According to Graham you should think of the really smart people you know. They may include a doctor trying to cure cancer or a writer working on the great American novel or a human rights lawyer working to protect the most vulnerable people in society. To the extent that frequent social interaction detracts from the pursuit of these goals, it may negatively affect their overall satisfaction with life. (More, below.)Hugh Pickens continues: Kanazawa and Li's theory of happiness starts with the premise that the human brain evolved to meet the demands of our ancestral environment on the African savanna, where the population density was akin to what you'd find today in, say, rural Alaska (less than one person per square kilometer). Take a brain evolved for that environment, plop it into today's Manhattan (population density: 27,685 people per square kilometer), and you can see how you'd get some evolutionary friction. "Our ancestors lived as hunter–gatherers in small bands of about 150 individuals," Kanazawa and Li explain. "In such settings, having frequent contact with lifelong friends and allies was likely necessary for survival and reproduction for both sexes." If you're smarter and more able to adapt to things, you may have an easier time reconciling your evolutionary predispositions with the modern world. Accordingly smarter people may be better-equipped to jettison that whole hunter-gatherer social network — especially if they're pursuing some loftier ambition. "Whatever the explanation might prove to be, this obviously doesn't mean smart people don't like having friends," says Emma Cueto. "But it does probably mean that they don't enjoy having too many — after all, keeping track of lots of people does usually involve, you know, talking to them. So if you're naturally more of a loner, congratulations! It might be a sign of intelligence."
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