Research links Facebook friends and brain structure


    There could be a link between brain structure and the amount of Facebook friends a person has, according to Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

    Researchers from the University College London found college students with vast amounts of Facebook friends had larger areas in their brains linked to social skills as compared to those with fewer Facebook friends. The study was conducted using brain imaging on a group of college students.

    Lead author of the study, Ryota Kanai, told ABC in an interview, “We have found some interesting brain regions that seems to link the number of friends we have—both ‘real’ and ‘virtual.’”

    Although the study does provide a link between our brains and technology, the study was only conducted among college students considered to be “active Facebook users.” The study did not take into consideration adults, who most likely do not use Facebook as often as the students examined in the study.

    Students had divided opinions on the subject.

    Senior marketing major Courtney Dunn said she was skeptical of the study’s findings.

    “I feel like you can find some sort of link in just about any subject you study,” Dunn said. “Just because there is a link, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the case with everyone.”

    Dunn said she also thought the study did not examine a large enough group of people in different demographics.

    Senior political science and entrepreneurial management double major Bonnie Reay said she thought the study could lay the groundwork for future studies.

    “I’m not saying I’m sold 100 percent on this study, but I do think it could play an important role in brain research,” Reay said. “I think it’s funny everyone has been so worried about Facebook making us stupid, and now they’re coming out with studies like this one.”