Study ties brain structure size to socializing
Dec. 26, 2010
NEW YORK (AP) — Do you spend time with a lot of friends? That might mean a particular part of your brain is larger than usual.
It's the amygdala, which lies deep inside. Brain scans of 58 volunteers in a preliminary study indicated that the bigger the amygdala, the more friends and family the volunteers reported seeing regularly.
That makes sense because the amygdala is at the center of a brain network that's important for socializing, says Lisa Feldman Barrett, an author of the work published online Sunday by the journal Nature Neuroscience.
For example, the network helps us recognize whether somebody is a stranger or an acquaintance, and a friend or a foe, said Barrett, of Northeastern University in Boston.
But does having a bigger amygdala lead to more friends, or does socializing with a lot of friends create a bigger amygdala? The study can't sort that out. But Barrett said it might be a bit of both...