Parts of the brain are bigger and better connected in people with lots of friends
Need an excuse for a cheeky catch-up and coffee with your mum friends? A recent study has shown that parts of the brain of people with larger friendship groups are bigger and better.
Researchers at Oxford University interviewed 18 men and women and asked how many friends they had met, spoken to or emailed in the past month. Scans showed the parts of the brain we use to keep track of what other people are doing are bigger and better connected in people who have lots of friends.
The scans showed that around half a dozen brain regions were bigger in those who were more sociable – and the more friends someone had, the larger the areas of the brain were.
Researcher Dr MaryAnn Noonan said, ‘In more sociable humans, perhaps these communication pathways are more like motorways than windy country roads, making information processing more efficient and better.
‘If I hedged my bets, I’d say the brain is changing in response to social network size. But that is not to say that there isn’t a genetic influence, so that if you come from a sociable family, your brain is predisposed to that.’
So next time you feel guilty about spending a whole morning catching up with your friends, don’t!
Have you become more sociable since having a baby? Let us know in the comment box below...