Study: Dunbar’s number is wrong. You can have more than 150 friends

Dunbar's number is a popular estimate for the maximum size of social groups. But new research suggests that it's a fictitious number based on flimsy data and bad theory.

  • A team of researchers recalculated Dunbar's number using his original methods and better data.
  • Their estimates were as high as 520 and were stretched over a wide enough range as to be nearly useless.
  • The authors suggest that the method used to calculate the number of friends a person can have is also theoretically unsound.
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How showing remorse can save your relationships

Scientists ripped up kids' drawings. This is what they learned about relationships.

  • Forgiveness as a cultural act linked to religion and philosophy dates back centuries, but studies focused on the science of apologies, morality, and relationships are fairly new. As Amrisha Vaish explains, causing harm, showing remorse, and feeling concern for others are things children pay attention to, even in their first year of life.
  • In a series of experiments, adults ripped children's artworks and either showed remorse or showed neutrality. They found that remorse really mattered. "Here we see what [the kids] really care about is that the transgressor shows their commitment to them, to the relationship," Vaish says. "And they will seek that person out over even an in-group member."
  • As a highly social species, cooperation is vital to humans. Learning what factors make or break those social bonds can help communities, teams, and partners work together to meet challenges and survive.

Experts fear Thanksgiving COVID spikes—Can you have your turkey and stay healthy too ?

Experts plead with Americans to keep gatherings limited this Thanksgiving, while families devise new ways to celebrate the holidays.

Credit: Lightfield Studios/Adobe Stock
  • Holiday travel and family gatherings will bolster America's already growing number of coronavirus cases, experts warn.
  • The CDC recommends families celebrating with people outside their quarantine households follow extra precautions.
  • For families staying physically distant, there remain many ways to connect with each other this Thanksgiving.
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    The key to better quality education? Make students feel valued.

    Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.

    • Not being able to engage with students in-person due to the pandemic has presented several new challenges for educators, both technical and social. Digital tools have changed the way we all think about learning, but George Couros argues that more needs to be done to make up for what has been lost during "emergency remote teaching."
    • One interesting way he has seen to bridge that gap and strengthen teacher-student and student-student relationships is through an event called Identity Day. Giving students the opportunity to share something they are passionate about makes them feel more connected and gets them involved in their education.
    • "My hope is that we take these skills and these abilities we're developing through this process and we actually become so much better for our kids when we get back to our face-to-face setting," Couros says. He adds that while no one can predict the future, we can all do our part to adapt to it.
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    New study proves absence really does make the heart grow fonder

    This is one of countless studies that prove the positive impact of social connection and intimacy while highlighting the negative impact of isolation and separation.

    Image by magic pictures on Shutterstock
    • New research, led by behavioral neuroscience assistant professor Zoe Donaldson explores what drives our mammalian instinct to create lasting bonds - and what exactly happens when we are apart from people we share those bonds with.
    • Studying prairie voles (who fall under the 3-5% of mammals who, along with humans, are monogamous), Donaldson and her team discovered a unique set of cluster cells that light up when reunited with a mate after a period of separation.
    • This study is just the tip of new developing research that could lead to groundbreaking new therapies for individuals who struggle with these types of connections, including people with autism, people who struggle with mood disorders, etc.
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