Robin Dunbar: We can have about 150 friends

On average, a person can have a maximum of 150 friends and acquaintances with whom he/she can maintain permanent social relationships.

This number is limited by the size of the neocortex area in the frontal lobe of our brain.

This does not only apply to people, as the size of animal groups is also surprisingly dependent on the size of the same brain area Maintaining relationships with other members of the species is a complicated matter that requires a lot of brain work.

The majority of people have 100–200 friends on Facebook. The impression that people usually have hundreds of friends is a myth that is not true. If there are more people in the networks, the relationships are not generally bi-directional in nature.

The same number comes up consistently in different materials. Studying the e-mails of researchers has also indicated that a person can usually carry out bi-directional e-mail traffic with approximately 100–200 other people. The activities of organisations generally become more difficult when the threshold of 150 people is exceeded.

Friends and acquaintances are divided into friends on different levels. The number of closest friends is usually approximately five. People usually give these friends some 40% of the time they spend with friends. The best ways of connecting people are laughter, discussion in small groups and singing.

Watch Dunbar's talk here.

Related news

Kuva: Tuomas Uusheimo.
Research & Art Published:

EURO2022 conference to be hosted by Aalto University

Largest European conference in operations research and management science to be hosted in Otaniemi in July 2022
Falling Walls
Research & Art Published:

Win a trip to Berlin with ideas pitching competition

Falling Walls Lab Finland submission period closes soon, enter your research or business idea to be in a chance to compete in the international final
Matias Palva. Kuva: Mikko Raskinen.
Research & Art Published:

Matias Palva, Professor of Brain Signal Analytics, studies the mechanisms of the human mind and brain diseases

Understanding the brain mechanisms behind the diseases is important when developing targeted treatments
Nanocellulose bicycle Photo: Eeva Suorlahti
Cooperation, Press releases, Research & Art Published:

Tomorrow's Sustainable Lifestyles Showcased in Otaniemi

One of Helsinki Design Week's main events, Designs for a Cooler Planet, will showcase Aalto University's cross-cutting future prototypes, such as a nanocellulose bicycle, microbial headphones and Ioncell clothes
  • Published:
  • Updated:
Share
URL copied!