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Thread: Monkeysphere: The Narrowing

  1. #1
    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
    Wisconsin Death Trip

    Post Monkeysphere: The Narrowing

    We've discussed the monkeysphere (aka Dunbar's Number) a few times, so I'm not going to go into it again.

    However, in addition to our limited ability to recognize more than approximately 150 people as human, it appears there are hard limits on how many active friends we can handle. Article here.

    [T]he researchers followed 24 British students as they left school and entered the workforce or a university. Researchers used both survey results from the participants and automatically-logged cell phone data to track who their “closest” friends were.

    As you might guess (you are a human, presumably one with at least a few friends, after all), the majority of calls and energy was spent on a very small number of close friends and family. When these calls were graphed, a few people made up a large fraction of them, followed by a long, declining tail of others.

    Most surprisingly, however, was the fact that it didn’t matter which friends were deemed closest or which friends someone ultimately lost touch with: The shape of the graphs remained essentially the same.

    What that means, in other words, is when you meet a new best friend, they’re likely to slide into your old bestie’s spot in your social circle—you’re unlikely to keep your level of communication the same with your old friend. According to the authors, the “social signature,” or graph of an individual person “remains stable and retains its characteristic shape over time and is only weakly affected by network turnover.”

    “Thus, individuals appear to differ in how they allocate their available time to [friends], irrespective of who these [friends] are,” they continue. And don’t say that you keep in touch through GChat or Facebook or face-to-face communication: The student surveys show that “this finding applies not just to call frequencies, because the frequency of calls to a [friend] correlates with emotional closeness and frequency of face-to-face interactions.”
    Last edited by Lemur; 01-10-2014 at 16:43.

  2. #2
    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Jan 2003

    Default Re: Monkeysphere: The Narrowing

    Not surprising.

    I'm really bad at this. Quite a few people I actually care about, hardly anyone I contact regularly.
    I also noticed the replacement of friends to a degree. There's this guy who was my best friend for many years but geographical distance has separated us quite a bit. Now everytime I want to call him my best friend I reconsider whether I should actually call him that anymore since we have very irregular contact nowadays. It's also true though that you usually behave in a very similar manner when you meet old friends again and are relatively fast back in your old behavior. I guess these wiring in the brain take a while to really dissolve and fully adapt to new friends (and in some cases, a new Windows version)...

    "Topic is tired and needs a nap." - Tosa Inu

  3. #3

    Default Re: Monkeysphere: The Narrowing

    I buck the curve by recognizing literally no-one as human.
    Vitiate Man.

    History repeats the old conceits
    The glib replies, the same defeats

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

  4. #4
    Nec Pluribus Impar Member SwordsMaster's Avatar
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    Mar 2004
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    Default Re: Monkeysphere: The Narrowing

    Yep, known this a while. As someone who moves around a lot i get to change groups often. Also, the most effective office arrangements have no more than 200 people on the same floor. If you think about it, that's also the size of a regiment - obviously it was noted a long time ago that humans fight more effectively and cooperate most effectively when the group size is no larger than that.
    Managing perceptions goes hand in hand with managing expectations - Masamune

    Pie is merely the power of the state intruding into the private lives of the working class. - Beirut


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