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Your Brain Likes Your Friends: The Neuroscience Behind Friendship

Do you and your friends get along well? Well, that might be because your brain likes your friends!

Two men laughing while hugging each other

Photo: zz77 (flickr)

Your brain is more responsive to friends compared to strangers.

Your brain is more responsive to your friends than to strangers, even if those strangers have more in common with you, says a new study. Researchers looked at the brain areas associated with social information. The results of the study show that social connections override similar interests.

A Brief Look At The Study

First, participants had their brain scanned while they were describing their personality traits.

In a second study, researchers asked participants to describe their personality as well as the personalities of two friends, one friend had similar interests and another had dissimilar interests.

Next, the researchers wrote made-up biographies similar to the friends being described. These made-up biographies were written so that one person would be a “friend” and another would be a “stranger.”

Playing Games

Participants then played a game similar to “The Newlywed Game.” Participants had to chose which person they would want to be around just by hearing their written biographies.

Researchers saw that participants had increased brain activity in the prefrontal cortex when answering questions that were similar to their friend’s biography. The prefrontal cortex activity was less active when answering questions dealing with strangers.

Read More:

  • Brain Responds More to Close Friends, Imaging Study Shows (ScienceDaily)

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Margaret Aprison

Margaret is a graduate of Indiana University with a degree in Telecommunications and a minor in Psychology. The daughter of two scientists, Margaret has been surrounded by the subject her entire life. She enjoys social media, writing, television, and, of course, science!

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