Thursday, June 2, 2011

Maximum number of friends that humans can manage

Given through an explanation by Dunbar:
Until about a century ago, social movement was relatively modest, and most people probably grew up within a day's journey of where they had been born. Communities were small (in fact, typically about 150 to 200 people), and most folks knew everyone. That arrangement created a complex web of interwoven relationships, many of which were familial. Since then, society has undergone a dramatic change. It has become commonplace for people to move many times during their working lives—first to college, then to their first jobs, followed by a series of moves as they are transferred to new offices by their companies or move to new jobs elsewhere. The result is that our networks of 150 have become fragmented into small subsets of friends picked up along the way. Our college friends probably do not know our family, and they certainly won't know the friends we acquired when we moved to another city for a job.
Full article in IEEE spectrum: http://spectrum.ieee.org/telecom/internet/how-many-friends-can-you-really-have

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