Published on March 26th, 2012 | by James Johnson0
Size Of Your Brain Dictates Number Of Friends You Have [Study]
The region of your brain known as the orbital prefrontal cortex could determine how many friends you have bases on its size. Located just above the eyes researchers studying the brain have found that that larger that region the more friends people tend to make and ultimately keep.
Published in the February 1, 2012 journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B the study was part of the British Academy Centenary ‘Lucy to Language’ project.
According to the study a person needs to establish a set of cognitive skills in order to maintain their friendships, a process known as ‘mentalising’ or ‘mind reading.’ Using that process a person is able to follow the natural hierarchy of another persons mind states. People who understand their friends better tend to work better in a complex social world, including their ability to hold conversations with less distractions.
To test their theory researchers examined MR images from 40 volunteers to determine the size of the prefrontal cortex, participants were then asked to list all of their social friends for whom they had contact with in the last seven days, excluding professional relationships.
According to Professor Robin Dunbar:
“We found that individuals who had more friends did better on mentalising tasks and had more neural volume in the orbital frontal cortex, the part of the forebrain immediately above the eyes. Understanding this link between an individual’s brain size and the number of friends they have helps us understand the mechanisms that have led to humans developing bigger brains than other primate species. The frontal lobes of the brain, in particular, have enlarged dramatically in humans over the last half million years.”
Researchers admit that many other factors could also play a part in how many friends we have such as the amount of free time we spend with friends, our geographical locations, etc.