Link found between social skills and brain structure
Having lots of friends and relatively good social skills may be linked to bigger brain regions, according to a new study.
The link between social interactions and brain structure may help researchers better understand and treat conditions related to social behavior, such as autism and schizophrenia.
Researchers from Mcgill University in Canada presented their findings at an annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, Calif. Their study involved 18 human participants, to whom researchers asked how many social interactions they had had in the past month, in order to determine the size of their social networks.
Findings showed that certain brain regions were bigger and better connected to each other in the participants with bigger social networks. These brain regions are specifically involved in “mentalization”, which researchers said is the ability to attribute mental states, thoughts and beliefs to another.
Researchers said that they are unsure whether social network size and social skills are what causes brain differences or vice versa. They said that they believe the former hypothesis is the case, but long-term studies are needed in order to prove this causal relationship.