Will you have fewer friends after lockdown?
The good news is close relationships are unlikely to suffer, but your wider community might temporarily diminish
As many countries tentatively loosen Covid-19 restrictions, some of us are feeling anxious. Have my social skills become rusty from long quarantines and lockdowns? Have my friendships gone stale? Will I still have my old clique to return to? Have my social circles frayed or shrunk?
For a scientific perspective, I put these questions to Robin Dunbar, a British anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist. I’ve kept tabs on his research for almost three decades, ever since he wrote a groundbreaking paper in 1992. Dunbar discovered a remarkably stable ratio across all species of primates between the size of their neocortex and their social group: the larger the brain, the larger the community...