People who were shy or antisocial scored lower than average on the measure of creativity. But people who were “unsociable” — those who sought out solitude — scored higher on creativity.
Unsociable people, in other words, “may be able to spend their time in solitude constructively, unlike shy and avoidant individuals who may be too distracted and/or preoccupied by their negative cognitions and distress,” the authors posit.
Other research — and indeed, the life experiences of many famously creative people — back up this notion. The solitary genius is a familiar trope in Western society. Think of Thoreau in his cabin, Van Gogh alone in an asylum and Beethoven's withdrawal into silent solitude.Research also has found (cf. Long and Averill) that highly intelligent people are happier when they have fewer friends. They might spend less time socializing because they are focused on some other longer term objective.