Certain brain areas are enlarged and white-matter tracts were better connected in people with larger social networks
SAN DIEGO — Being a social butterfly just might change your brain: In people with a large network of friends and excellent social skills, certain brain regions are bigger and better connected than in people with fewer friends, a new study finds.
The research, presented here Tuesday (Nov. 12) at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, suggests a connection between social interactions and brain structure.
"We're interested in how your brain is able to allow you to navigate in complex social environments," study researcher MaryAnn Noonan, a neuroscientist at Oxford University, in England, said at a news conference. Basically, "how many friends can your brain handle?" Noonan said.
Scientists still don't understand how the brain manages human behavior in increasingly complex social situations, or what parts of the brain are linked to deviant social behavior associated with conditions like autism and schizophrenia.