By Guest Author 02/01/2017


How many Facebook friends do you have? Hundreds? Thousands?

Well, according to research published in January, your brain can’t really cope with any more friendships on Facebook than it can in real life, and the upper limit is around 150 mates.

A survey of more than 3,000 Facebookers in the UK found most had around that number of friends, and those who had many more identified a similarly-sized group that they actually considered proper ‘friends’.

The limit of 150 friends on Facebook mirrors the number of friends scientists think we can maintain meaningful relationships with offline, a figure known as Dunbar’s number. Robin Dunbar is a British anthropologist who studied the relationship between the size of various primates’ brains and the size of their social groups, which he found to be linked. Calculating the maximum size of human social circles based on our own brains, he came up with the figure of 150.

Science isn’t always serious. The Weird Science series, collated by the Australian Science Media Centre, serves up the most quirky, curious and downright bizarre science stories of 2016.

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