Monday, January 3, 2011

Mind: Supersized Amygdalas Linked to Sprawling Social Circles

Lisa Feldman Barrett and colleagues sought to find out whether size matters in the amygdala, and according to their study in Nature Neuroscience, there is a connection between people having big amygdalas and having big, complex social networks.
The researchers measured two social network factors in 58 adults. First, they calculated the size of a participant's network, which is simply the total number of people that are in regular contact with the participant. Second, they measured the network's complexity, based on how many different groups a participant's contacts can be divided into. … Linear regression revealed a positive correlation in amygdala size with both social network size and complexity. [Ars Technica]
People who have large amygdalas may have the raw material needed to maintain larger and more complex social networks, said Barrett. That said, the brain is a use it or lose it organ. It may be that when people interact more their amygdalas get larger. That would be my guess. [The Guardian]

For more, see Supersized Amygdalas Linked to Sprawling Social Circles by Andrew Moseman, December 27, 2010 at Discover Magazine blogs.

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