Friendship Circles

Friendship Circles

“What our theory predicts and what we have now been able to ascertain is that people with a high cognitive capacity could potentially expand their circle of intimate friendships”, explains Anxo Sánchez, a professor in UC3M’s Department of Mathematics and one of the authors of the study published in PNAS. This also happens in small communities, where there are fewer people available with whom to establish a relationship, leading to the broadening of the circle of close friendships among the people available: “It is the first time, as far as we know, that a purely mathematical theory, based on a basic physical principle (that of maximum entropy), predicts a social phenomenon or structure which is subsequently found in the data”, says Anxo Sánchez.

Something similar happens in reverse, according to the researchers. “It is impossible to have relationships with 150 people and for them all to be intimate. Therefore, if one has a large number of relationships, it must mean that they are almost all superficial”, says another of the authors of the study, Ignacio Tamarit, from UC3M’s Interdisciplinary Group of Complex Systems, who is preparing his doctoral thesis on this subject.

When they began the study, carried out with the support of the BBVA Foundation’s Programme of Grants to Scientific Research Teams in the area of Digital Society and Economics, the researchers started with the hypothesis that human relationships involve a different degree of effort depending on their emotional intensity and that our ability to manage them is limited.

Source: Our Friendship Circles Cover about 150 People

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