One would feel euphoric if they can predict friendship with a person just by looking at how their brains respond to video clips and this is a reality now! The basis for this are neural activity patterns that are similar between friends. Friends-of-friends have second degree of similarity followed by friends-of-friends-of-friends.
The study was the first of its kind that included the link between neural activity of people and their response to real world stimuli (video).
The Neural Patterns
The study included nearly 280 students whose friendship was analyzed. It focused on the social distance between pairs of students depending on their common social ties. Of the lot, 42 students were subjected to videos spanning different subjects such as politics, science, comedy and music which was expected to garner different responses. Their neural activity was tracked through a functional MRI (fMRI) scanner. Every student was made to watch the same video in the same sequence with the same set of instructions.
After this, the researchers compared the neural response between sets of students to determine whether students who were strongly connected over social media had similar brain activity compared to those pairs who were distantly connected over social network. The research also found that the response similarity was strongest among friends in areas involving emotions, attention and high-level reasoning. Despite controlling variables such as left- or right-handedness, age, gender, ethnicity and nationality, the similarity in neural activity remained intact. The fMRI response can be used to find two things: if two people were friends and if so, the social distance between the two of them.
One question that remains unanswered is whether we are naturally inclined towards people who share our similar interests or whether similarity comes from shared experience. We thrive as a society together and environmental factors affect every individual greatly. Read more on how environmental factors mold an individual at www.firsteatright.com. We are connected to others in this society and understanding how our brains work in combination to each other helps us understand how the human brain works individually. When you meet a person you know, your brain instantly recognizes the influence or importance of that person and his/her priority in your social network.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.