Benefits of Social Networks

Introduction

The inspiration for this post came from an article titled “Social Butterflies’ Brains Differ From Those Of People With Fewer Friends, New Study Shows” written by Tanya Lewis and published by LiveScience. I did not include the entire article in this post, but there is a link to the article in the Credits section at the bottom of this post.

2014-0115 Social NetworkAccording to Lewis, 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.” Research presented at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting suggests a connection between social interactions and brain structure.

Shortly after reading the article, I asked myself the following questions:

  • Did the subjects who participated in the study represent the entire population?
  • What population was tested? The article mentioned a lot of people in a lot of countries participated, but was the sample truly random and statistically significant?
  • Is brain change caused by social interaction or do people with certain brain formations have a predisposition to social interactions?
  • Are introverts missing out on brain growth because we shy away from social networks?
  • Does the degree of social interaction play a role in the degree of change experienced?
  • Could factors other than a dictated “size of the animals’ social network” be responsible for causing differences in the size of monkey brains?
  • Do human brains function like monkey brains?
  • Is a larger region of the brain a sign of more functionality or less? Perhaps, a larger region is a sign that a brain must work harder than a person with a smaller region.

Call to Action

If you have answers to the questions I asked, or you have additional questions, please submit your comments below this post.

Credits

Thanks to Tanya Lewis (on Twitter and Google+) whose article was the inspiration for this post; Live Science (@livescience, Facebook & Google+) which published the Lewis article; Huff Post where I noticed the Lewis article; MaryAnn Noonan, the neuroscientist and researcher at Oxford University (England) who was quoted in Lewis’ article; Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, Instagram, etc. for helping people build their social networks; and all the people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to use the picture and text in this post.

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