Study: People with a busy social life “have bigger amygdale”

Study: People with a busy social life “have bigger amygdale”

According to a interesting study, led by Dr Lisa Feldman Barrett of the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, US, people with bigger amygdala - a small almond-shaped body buried deep within the temporal lobe of the brain – have wider and more complex networks of friends and colleagues.

As per the study, scans reveal that people with a busy social life apparently have more volume in the amygdale - a specific part of the brain which has thus far been associated with a person’s mental and emotional state.

The study, which observed 58 people, chiefly took into account age and total brain size. As per the findings of the US, there are noteworthy differences in the amygdala’s size in people with larger, more complex social networks.

For the study, reported in Nature Neuroscience, the scientists asked the healthy volunteers to list their contacts and social networks; and subsequently analysed the structure of the brain with the help of magnetic resonance imaging.

The researchers wrote: “We found that amygdala volume correlates with the size and complexity of social networks in adult humans," they write in Nature Neuroscience. These findings indicate that the amygdala is important in social behaviour.”

The findings, which substantiate the earlier studies highlighting the importance of the amygdala for social behaviour, suggest that the amygdala might have evolved partly to help deal with the increasingly complex social life of humans.

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