Um estudo muito interessante realizado no Reino Unido encontrou correlação entre o número de “amigos” no Facebook com a estrutura cerebral. Mais especificamente, indivíduos com um maior número de contactos na rede social apresentam também uma maior densidade de matéria cinzenta no cérebro. Para além desta correlação, este estudo encontrou ainda uma correlação entre o tamanho da amigdala e o número de “amigos” no Facebook, algo que já havia sido encontrado num estudo anterior. Fica aqui o resumo do artigo:
The increasing ubiquity of web-based social networking services is a striking feature of modern human society. The degree to which individuals participate in these networks varies substantially for reasons that are unclear. Here, we show a biological basis for such variability by demonstrating that quantitative variation in the number of friends an individual declares on a web-based social networking service reliably predicted grey matter density in the right superior temporal sulcus, left middle temporal gyrus and entorhinal cortex. Such regions have been previously implicated in social perception and associative memory, respectively. We further show that variability in the size of such online friendship networks was significantly correlated with the size of more intimate real-world social groups. However, the brain regions we identified were specifically associated with online social network size, whereas the grey matter density of the amygdala was correlated both with online and real-world social network sizes. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that the size of an individual’s online social network is closely linked to focal brain structure implicated in social cognition.
Online social network size is reflected in human brain structure – R. Kanal, B. Bahrami, R. Roylance & G. Rees
Para quem quiser um resumo mais curto e condensando, recomendo a análise feita no Neuroskeptic que deixa em conclusão algumas das hipóteses que podem justificar estes dados:
But that doesn’t change the fact that the results of the study seem rock solid. So what’s going on? It could be that having lots of friends makes your brain bigger. Or it could be the reverse, that having a certain kind of brain wins you friends, or at least Facebook ones. Or it could be that there’s some third factor underlying the correlation, although who knows what that is.