wikipedia small

Dunbar’s number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other personThis number was first proposed in the 1990s by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who found a correlation between primate brain size and average social group size. By using the average human brain size and extrapolating from the results of primates, he proposed that humans can comfortably maintain only

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stable relationships. Proponents assert that numbers larger than this generally require more restrictive rules, laws, and enforced norms to maintain a stable, cohesive group. It has been proposed to lie between 100 and 250, with a commonly used value of 150. Dunbar’s number states the number of people one knows and keeps social contact with, and it does not include the number of people known personally with a ceased social relationship, nor people just generally known with a lack of persistent social relationship, a number which might be much higher and likely depends on long-term memory size.

Dunbar 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 also includes past colleagues, such as high school friends, with whom a person would want to reacquaint himself if they met again.


just taking it for whatever ness.. [adding page while at rp.. dunbar ish size\

as i still believe we have no idea what we’re capable of (science of people ness et al)

i mean there’s so much.. jo freeman ness and freeman structure law (?).. et al..

and so much more.. if we’re brave enough to try/live.. a nother way

for (blank)’s sake

thinking when we focus on self-talk as data via 2 convos in order to facil all of us (as it could be)

1\ dunbar ness connections (whatever your number and every changing) are deeper

2\ diversity is deeper – connections via curiosity.. rather than some binary/label ness

serendipitous/eudaimoniative surplus



The researchers, Norman P. Li and Satoshi Kanazawa, of the Singapore Management University, Singapore and the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK, respectively, were investigating the “savannah theory” of happiness.

The savannah theory — also called the “evolutionary legacy hypothesis” and the “mismatch hypothesis” — posits that we react to circumstances as our ancestors would, having evolved psychologically based on our ancestors’ needs in the days when humankind lived on the savannah.


The study found that people in general were less happy in areas of greater population density. The report’s authors see this is as support for the savannah theory because we would naturally feel uneasy in larger groups if — as evidence they cite suggests — our brains evolved for functioning in groups of about 150 people:

  • Comparing the size of our neocortex to other primates and the sizes of the groups in which they dwell suggests the natural size of a human group is 150 people (Dunbar, 1992).
  • Computer simulations show that the evolution of risk aversion happens only in groups of about 150 people (Hintze, Olson, Adami, & Hertwig, 2013).
  • The average size of modern hunter-gatherer societies is 148.4 people (Dunbar, 1993).
  • Neolithic villages in Mesopotamia had from 150–200 people (Oates, 1977).
  • When a group of people exceeds 150-200 people, it will tend to break into two in order to facilitate greater cooperation and reciprocity among its members (Chagnon, 1979).
  • The average personal network, as suggested by the typical number of holiday cards sent per person per year, is 153.5 people (Hill & Dunbar, 2003).

The study discovered, though, that the negative effect of the presence of lots of people is more pronounced among people of average intelligence. They propose that our smartest ancestors were better able to adapt to larger groups on the savannah due to a greater strategic flexibility and innate ingenuity, and so their descendants feel less stressed by urban environments today.


book recommend via Luba: 150 strong

(library – suggested purchase.. and if so on hold)


by Rob O’Grady [https://renegadeinc.com/author/robogrady/] [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xkni7e1sSXI]


David Wengrow (@davidwengrow) tweeted at 4:52 PM on Fri, Apr 12, 2019:
Yep – Dunbars Number is really among the main casualties of this new study.

David Wengrow (@davidwengrow) tweeted at 8:32 AM on Sat, Apr 13, 2019:
Check out the article – if they’re right (and I think they are) then the Social Brain Hypothesis is a dead duck,  or at least needs to be completely rethought from the ground up.

googled: The social brain hypothesis was proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who argues that human intelligence did not evolve primarily as a means to solve ecological problems, but rather as a means of surviving and reproducing in large and complex social groups.


dunbar ness from David:

David Wengrow (@davidwengrow) tweeted at 1:24 AM on Fri, Apr 19, 2019:
Just noticed I’m following exactly 150 people on Twitter. Why does this feel weirdly comfortable? Have I reached my cognitive ceiling? Should I stop now, before my brain explodes?

@para_paramoney: you should keep following new people, but be ruthless with unfollowing at least the same amount

@davidwengrow: See how quickly the little cruelties of life will multiply, if we see our world through the lens of evolutionary psychology.

black science of people/whales law


from  david graeber and david wengrow‘s dawn of everything (book).. in notes:


8 – imaginary cities: 2\ the cog basis of dunbar’s number is inferred form comparative studies of non human primates, which suggest a correlation between neocortex size and group size in various species of monkey and apes.. the significance of those findings for primate studies is not in question here.. only whether they can be extended in any simple or direct way to our own species..


rethinking cities