More than 150 friends on Facebook? Read on to discover why that can't really be true...
Whether you were Billy no mates or the most popular kid in the playground, competing about how many friends you had was definitely something that we used to leave behind with our school days. But with the launch of popular networking websites like Facebook, where users are racing to add more and more friends to their profile, this competitive feeling has crashed back into our adults lives!
But have you ever been a teeny bit suspicious that someone can't possibly be genuine friends with every single one of their hundreds of Facebook friends? Well your hunch was right! Professor Robin Dunbar has devised a theory called Dunbar's Number, which uses evidence from our collective past to show that humans can only sustain an average of 150 social contacts. This is because human beings are the product of our evolutionary history and this history colours our everyday lives.
Prof. Dunbar is one of the most respected evolutionary psychologists in Britain, he currently teaches at Oxford and is the author of several interesting science books, for example The Human Story and Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language. His writing is popular because he writes about complex evolutionary theories in an expressive and accessible way.
You can catch Prof. Dunbar this Tuesday 19th April 2011, where he will be giving a fascinating talk entitled How Many Friends Does One Person Need? You will learn the secrets of human society as he explains the reasons behind why we act they way we do. Everything from why 150 is the magic number to why all babies are born prematurely and even the science behind the lonely-hearts columns.
Event starts at 8pm at Informatics Forum. Suitable for 14+.