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Last Updated on March 8, 2008

Dunbar’s number has been popularized as the supposed cognitive limit to the number of individuals with whom any one person can maintain stable social relationships: the kind of relationships that go with knowing who each person is and how each person relates socially to every other person.[1] Proponents assert that group sizes larger than this generally require more restricted rules, laws, and enforced policies and regulations to maintain a stable cohesion.

Dunbar’s number was first proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who theorized that “this limit is a direct function of relative neocortex size, and that this in turn limits group size … the limit imposed by neocortical processing capacity is simply on the number of individuals with whom a stable inter-personal relationship can be maintained.” On the periphery, the number 150 also includes past colleagues such as high school friends with whom a person would want to reacquaint themselves if they met again.[2]

Dunbar’s number – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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