Numbers Don't Lie

Thursday, February 02, 2006

How many friends can a average person keep ?

150, according to Dunbar, an anthropologist at the University College of London. Dunbar wrote a paper on Co-Evolution Of Neocortex Size, Group Size And Language In Humans where he theorized:
... there is a cognitive limit to the number of individuals with whom any one person can maintain stable relationships, that this limit is a direct function of relative neocortex size, and that this in turn limits group size ... the limit imposed by neocortical processing capacity is simply on the number of individuals with whom a stable inter-personal relationship can be maintained.
This number of 150 has become "Dunbar's Number" and has been taken as a mean size for many kinds of effctive social groups. This number was also cited by several recent books, including Malcolm Gladwell's best seller The Tipping Point.



Blogger Beth said...

holy christ! I can't remember my own phone number some days. There is no way in hell I could keep up with that many people. I think I can effectively keep about twenty friends and after that they're just acquaintances.

7:43 PM

Blogger Far side of the other side. said...

Bah... who needs 150 friends anyway

9:54 PM

Blogger livibetter said...

I don't even have 15... 150, how could that be?

10:06 PM

Blogger Year of the Knock said...

That's fascinating stuff. Dunbar's number does rely on equating friend with "stable relationship," which I may argue differ slightly. But it's a good reference number especially when examining social phenomena.

Love the site!

10:36 PM

Blogger Blage said...

ummm, my Christmas card list isn't quite that long, but I haven't included everyone I have said hello to since elementary school.

5:25 AM

Blogger Lactose said...

I must be the origional Billy-no-Mates then! I guess it depends how you classify 'friends'. I got hundreds of good aquantances, but only a handfull of good mates...

Interesting blog. Cheers dude.

8:56 AM

Blogger ramblingmuse said...

I agree. It depends on what he means by 'friends'. I can see having 150 acquantances, but 150 good friends? No way! That's like a full time job, even for the most social person out there!

11:25 AM


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