Friday, August 1, 2014

Psychology 101: Fact Checking Paper

Recently I took upon the task of cleaning out my social networking sites as the news feed was congested of useless information from people I actually did not know. As a full-time college student, I have not had the chance to keep up with those connections I had made when I was a freelance writer, so I eliminated those and kept people within my closer social circle of friends and family. As I remained with 132 Facebook friendships, I stand in agreement with the following statistics from our textbook, “the average number of Facebook friends is about 125 – near the 150 people with whom evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar (1992, 2010) estimates we can have meaningful, supportive relationships (p.453).

In his research, Robin Dunbar found a direct connection between the size of your brain and the size of your social group capacity. Using H. Stephan’s observations of 38 primates such as the Dwarf lemur, night monkey, gorilla, and mouse lemur, Dunbar was able to anticipate the social size for humans. Dunbar concludes that we can only handle so many social relationships before we socially break down. David G Myers in the textbook Psychology reminds us that 150, the median of Dunbar’s findings is, “a typical size of tribal villages” (2013, p. 453). I find that the quote is accurately represented in the textbook, as it is a direct quote from the article, “You’ve got to have (150) friends,” published in the New York Times written by the researcher, Robin Dunbar (2010, p. WK15).

Robin Dunbar’s research limits human’s social circles based on the grooming methods of 38 different non-human primates. This leads one to believe that humans may or may not be able to handle the said 150 connections. Could humans have the ability to connect with more individuals due to our vast differences in socializing or does our human ability to connect deeper with one another lower the amount of connections we can have at one time?  I have 132 friends on Facebook, from old friends to new friends, cousins to sorority sisters, college professors to church acquaintances these are what I want to juggle during this season of life no matter what Dunbar’s number says.


Works Cited

Dunbar, R.I.M. (1992, June). Neocortex size as a constraint on group size in primates. Journal of
Human Evolution, 22, 469-493. (p.453).

Dunbar, R.I.M. (2010, December 25). You’ve got to have (150) friends. New York Times
(www.newyorktimes.com). (p.453).

Myers, D. G. (2013). Sexual Motivation and the Need to Belong. Psychology (10th ed). New
York, NY: Worth Publishers.

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