A new study, led by Carolyn Parkinson, an assistant professor of psychology working at the University of California, Los Angeles, demonstrates that the brains of friends respond very similarly to the same stimuli.
A team of scientists recruited 279 graduate students who completed questionnaires concerning their friendships, indicating people in their cohort that they were close to. Then scientists conducted functional MRI scans on a subset of 42 participants while they were shown a series of 14 videos to explore brain responses.
The analysis of the responses measured by functional MRI confirmed that friends had the most similar neural responses overall. Their brain activity indicated compatible emotional reactions.
Senior study author Thalia Wheatley says: “We are a social species, and live our lives connected to everybody else. If we want to understand how the human brain works, we need to understand how brains work in combination – how minds shape each other.”
According to a new study, published in the journal PLOS One, having close friends in old age may stay off mental decline.
The study was executed by a team of researchers from the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center (CNADC) at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, USA. For the study, the researchers asked 31 superagers and 19 age-matched controls to complete a 42-item questionnaire that inquired about their psychological well-being.
Senior author of the study Emily Rogalski, an associate professor at CNADC, says: “[If] there is a list of healthy choices one can make, such as eating a certain diet and not smoking, maintaining strong social networks may be an important one on that list. None of these things by [themselves guarantee] you don’t get the disease, but they may still have health benefits.”
A new study by the researchers from the University of Virginia finds that types of friendships formed during teenage years can influence mental health in adulthood. People with a few but high-quality best friendships are happier in their mid-20s than those who were popular among their peers.
A team of scientists examined 169 adolescents, racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse, over a period of 10 years (from 15 to 25 years old). Every year they checked the quality of the participants’ friendships and their mental health.
Having analyzed the received results, the researchers concluded that participants with few best friends had lower social anxiety, increased sense of self-worth, and fewer symptoms of depression. Those who were considered more popular by their peers showed higher levels of social anxiety in adulthood.
A new research from the University of Calgary suggests women feel stressed being alone and need friends more.
In their study, the scientists tested the stress level in male and female mice. The results of the study show the importance of a social network for females. These findings give the way for future research whether females befriend others as a coping mechanism during stressful situations.
Dr. Jaideep Bains, a senior author of the research, says: “Many species, including humans, use social interaction to reduce the effects of stress. In fact, the lack of a social network may itself be stressful.”
This conclusion can help create strategies to cope with stress that are sex-specific.