More Facebook Friends Linked to Bigger Brains

Or at least more gray matter in certain areas
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2011 6:12 PM CDT
Friend him.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – People with tons of Facebook friends can not only boast about their social networking skills but about the increased gray matter in their brains. A buzzy new study from Britain concludes that people with loads of network friends tend to have more pronounced regions of the brain related to social skills, reports Reuters. For bragging purposes, they are the superior temporal sulcus, the middle temporal gyrus, the entorhinal cortex, and the amygdala, notes the Guardian. The first three seem to correlate to online friends only, while people with a well-endowed amygdala region tend to have lots of online and real-world friends.

All of which means what? Researchers aren't exactly sure about the cause-and-effect, reports USA Today. "It is not clear whether the brain is hardwired for social networks," says one. "It could be that people have a large number of friends on Facebook simply because the structure of these brain regions is larger, but it could be the other way around—that is, with people who have a large number of friends on Facebook, that might influence their brain structure." Adds another: “The exciting question now is whether these structures change over time. This will help us answer the question of whether the Internet is changing our brains.”

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