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According to science: If you live alone in the city, you are probably intelligent

Savannah Happiness Theory
If you live alone in the city, you are probably very intelligent

© Anna Kraynova / Shutterstock

Whether we feel comfortable in an urban environment or prefer to live in the country is very different. According to the so-called savanna happiness theory, our IQ also plays a role.

Do you prefer the city or the village? Where we want to live (in the long term) seems to be one of the crucial questions of our time. Our preference, however, is rooted at least in part in our Stone Age brains. It feels more comfortable in a more manageable environment – for example in the savannah. It’s not particularly well equipped for modern city life.

Based on this knowledge, the psychologists Norman Li and Satoshi Kanazawa developed the so-called savannah happiness theory. In a large-scale study they put the thesis to the test – and discovered amazing things.

Study: What does life satisfaction have to do with environment and intelligence?

For their study, the two scientists Kanazawa and Li asked around 15,000 people between the ages of 18 and 28 about the environment in which they feel more comfortable and how many social contacts they need. They then put the whole thing in relation to the intelligence quotient.

One of the findings was that intelligent people prefer to live in an urban environment than in the countryside, while less intelligent people seem to prefer village life. And Norman Li and Satoshi Kanazawa see the justification for this in the savannah theory of happiness.

It’s about the fact that the brain of many people still doesn’t work much differently today than it did in the Stone Age – with the difference that our way of life is completely different. According to the study, smart people find it easier to adapt to the modern world – which is why they do better in the more hectic urban environment. Your brain has evolved in this environment with the associated challenges and can therefore deal well with many people and high noise levels. In fact, intelligent people often find city life more inspiring and feel they can fulfill themselves better in the city than in a rural area.

According to the study, not so smart people get along better in the village. This is probably due to the fact that their everyday life is somewhat more similar to the original life of people than in the city. A village in the 21st century certainly cannot be compared to a savanna – but the pace of life there is more similar to that in Manhattan or Frankfurt.

The Savannah Happiness Theory: Are Intelligent People More Introverted?

In addition, Li and Kanazawa looked at another aspect of their subjects, namely the quality and quantity of interpersonal relationships. It was about the question of how much social interaction a person needs to be happy and content.

Here, too, the results of the study were exciting: Apparently, intelligent people are more introverted and satisfied with fewer social contacts than less intelligent people. The latter tend to feel lonely more easily and tend to be happier when they spend more time with friends and family – so they are more extroverted than people with a higher IQ.

Between the two core questions “City or country?” and “Introvert or extrovert?” the two psychologists were able to establish a connection. Because the more intelligent people obviously need more time for themselves to recover from the hustle and bustle of the city. If they were then to spend even more time cultivating interpersonal relationships, this would, according to the scientists’ thesis, cause additional stress.

The less clever people in rural areas, on the other hand, use their time with their loved ones to relieve stress – according to the study, socializing is a way of relaxing them.

Loner in the city = genius? It is not that easy

Of course, the results of the study on the savannah happiness theory show only tendencies and are not universal statements for every person who lives in the country or in the city or is more introverted or extroverted. Because of course not every city dweller is automatically highly intelligent, and of course there are people who enjoy the company of other people and are very smart at the same time.

But the study results do provide exciting insights into the factors that lead to people being satisfied with their lives in different environments.

Source used: British Journal of Psychology

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