It's no surprise that, as we've evolved as humans, our brains have grown in size. But according to the “social brain hypothesis,” this growth is actually a response to the social and ecological conflicts that arise when living with others.
According to a study published by the Royal Society of London B, the oldest scientific academy in existence, “across all non-primate taxonomies, relative brain size is principally related to pair bonding, but with enduring stable relationships in primates.”
We Can Only Really Bond With 5 People At A Time
The study backs the idea that humans are not capable of maintaining strong bonded relationships with more than five people simultaneously. The foundation of the theory is that primate brains developed over time to adapt to the social stresses of living in large groups where more personal relationships are necessary.
Social media experts have jumped off this concept to do a bit of their own research. According to IFLScience, “Based on this concept, analyses of Facebook and Twitter data over recent years have enabled researchers to come up with a model for human social networks, made up of four “Dunbar layers.”
Dubar layers make up a four-layer structure that identify how social media users interact between different “circles,” of friends, and show how that with an increasing number of people, emotional closeness dwindles. With this model in mind, it was found that the innermost layer, which is made up of the people who are closest to each individual social media user, is comprised of an average of five people.
As you move to the outermost layer, the number of individuals rises, and the amount of “emotional closeness” decreases. There are about 150 people in the outermost circle of a user’s typical social network.
It makes sense; many social media users complain that as their social media reach increases, the more “distant” they feel from the people around them. The amount of emotional intimacy is directly proportional to the number of people a user considers “closest” to them.
So what's the bottom line? Limit the amount of people who make up your own innermost circle, and watch as the amount of time you interact with each one becomes more consistent and meaningful.