The Savannah Happiness Theory

The Savannah Happiness Theory

In today's article we will talk about the savannah happiness theory, which is a theory that has become fashionable in recent times to explain why some people prefer loneliness to socially active life.


  • 1 A study related to the savannah happiness theory
  • 2 Conclusions of the study
  • 3 We continue with an ancestral brain
  • 4 Why do the smartest prefer loneliness?

A study related to the savannah happiness theory

The first thing to note is that this theory has been rescued from a study that has been published in the British Journal of Psychology, based on a system of surveys that were conducted at 15,000 adults between 18 and 28 years old.

In these surveys, participants were asked about their environment, their well-being, their intellectual quotient and their personal relationships, with the aim of finding patterns among the different answers that were given to these types of questions.

This study has given some of the most interesting conclusions. Stresses especially the theory of happiness of the sheet (if not, we would not be writing about it, of course), but it is not the only interesting conclusion.

Conclusions of the study

The researchers concluded that people who had a lower than average IQ were happier if they lived in rural settings that if they lived in environments with a high population density (such as large cities).

It was also found that adults who had an IQ below average they were happier as they had more social interactions, while they were more unhappy when they had few social interactions.

But this changed completely in the case of people with an above-average IQ. And it is here that we enter into the theory of happiness of the savanna proper.

We continue with an ancestral brain

Contrary to what happened to people with an intelligence below average (according to the IQ tests), the smartest people were more satisfied when they lived in a big city, and they were happier if they spent little time with their friends.

And it is that the theory of happiness of the savannah says that the things that made our ancestors happy (who lived in the African savannah, which is synonymous with living in rural environments with small social groups) continue to make us happy today .

That is, the brain is used to living with small population groups, and, when we are in overcrowded environments, It sends us signals indicating that we separate into smaller groups.

This theory is what rescues Satoshi Kanazawa, the author of the aforementioned study, to explain why people, to be happier, they prefer to reduce their exposure to very large population groups.

But ... So why do smart people prefer big cities instead of rural environments? The explanation given by Satoshi Kanazawa is that intelligent people have more capacity to adapt to stressful situations.

That is, the big city is stressful for our brains, which makes less intelligent people prefer to get away from it, while smart people have a greater ability to adapt to that stress.

But we still have only one aspect to resolve in this regard: Why do smarter people prefer loneliness? Had we not agreed that their superior intelligence allows them to live in more populated environments and, supposedly, with more social interactions?

Why do the smartest prefer loneliness?

The answer to this question has two valid answers that complement each other quite well. The first is that smart people prefer to focus on other types of goals, and The second is that loneliness is part of the process of overcoming that brain stress.

The first response is in the direction that intelligent people focus on other, more long-term interests, such as getting recognition, money, or all kinds of intellectual motivations.

Therefore, in these circumstances, personal relationships, for such people, they are just a distraction that prevents them from reaching that most important goal (that others do not share since they have a medium intelligence and not superior).

The second answer is in the direction of the strategy that intelligent people use to overcome the stress that overcrowded environments generate in all human brains.

While less intelligent people move away from these overpopulated nuclei, the smartest people can overcome it by restricting relationships with other people, even if they live surrounded by people.

As you can see, the savannah happiness theory It is quite reasonable, and surely you have been able to see it on occasion. We all have that particularly intelligent friend who prefers to go out a little ... It's not that we don't like him, but he's happier in solitude!