Group Sizes and the Internet
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by NPR Staff, NPR June 4, 2011 GORE-TEX, the company that makes wetsuits, hiking boots and ponchos, is the subject of a famous anecdote in the world of sociology. It centers on the guy who founded the company, Bill Gore. "When Bill Gore set the company up, he set it up in his backyard," Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary anthropology at the University of Oxford, tells NPR's Rachel Martin.
NPR says: Don't Believe Facebook; You Only Have 150 Friends and discusses Dunbar's number. Dunbar says there are some neurological mechanisms in place to help us cope with the ever-growing amount of social connections life seems to require. Humans have the ability, for example, to facially recognize about 1,500 people. Now that would be an impressive number of Facebook friends.
British anthropologist Robin Dunbar conducted research in the 1990s on the optimum social network size for primates. It turns out that there is a correlation with neocortex volume – the bigger the brain, the bigger the possible social network. This stands to reason, since being able to recognise faces and to know the pecking order for everyone in the group takes brain power. For humans, Dunbar’s Number is approximately 150. This means that to be able to know each member in a community and to know where they fit in that community, we are limited to about 150 as the community size.
Publication Type: Conference Paper Source: WSDM '08: Proceedings of the international conference on Web search and web data mining, ACM, New York, NY, USA, p.117–128 (2008) Keywords:
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