View Full Version : Brain structure and social networks

09-03-2012, 05:21 PM
See this article:
Another study recently showed that the amygdala is also larger in people with a bigger network of real-world friends.

Proc Biol Sci. 2012 Apr 7;279(1732):1327-34. Epub 2011 Oct 19.
Online social network size is reflected in human brain structure.
Kanai R, Bahrami B, Roylance R, Rees G.

UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, 17 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR, UK. [email protected]
The increasing ubiquity of web-based social networking services is a striking feature of modern human society. The degree to which individuals participate in these networks varies substantially for reasons that are unclear. Here, we show a biological basis for such variability by demonstrating that quantitative variation in the number of friends an individual declares on a web-based social networking service reliably predicted grey matter density in the right superior temporal sulcus, left middle temporal gyrus and entorhinal cortex. Such regions have been previously implicated in socialperception and associative memory, respectively. We further show that variability in the size of such online friendship networks was significantly correlated with the size of more intimate real-world social groups. However, the brain regions we identified were specifically associated with onlinesocial network size, whereas the grey matter density of the amygdala was correlated both with online and real-world social network sizes. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that the size of an individual's online social network is closely linked to focal brain structure implicated in social cognition.


Potentially, this is quite interesting, though of course the results need to be replicated.

09-03-2012, 07:52 PM
The plasticity of the brain is an amazing thing.