Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dunbar's Number

The Numbers Guy - WSJ.com

I've heard Dunbar's number mentioned several times, but this old (gosh, is 2007 "old"?) Wall Street Journal article tells us all about it. Thanks to blogger, and Austinite, Connie Reece for pointing it out again today.

Is there a numerical cap on how many friends we can have?

As users of Facebook, MySpace and other social-networking sites pile up hundreds, even thousands, of 'friends,' several commentators and news articles have cautioned that there is a natural limit to a friendship circle. They typically cite the so-called Dunbar's number, 150, as a ceiling on our personal contacts. This limit was derived by extrapolating from social groups in nonhuman primates and then crediting people with greater capacity because of our larger neocortex, the part of the brain used for conscious thought and language.

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