In 1960 the population of the Earth was three billion. This means that on city streets for the most part was quiet, and people were enjoying the beauty and architectural genius of the architects of the past. Today on our planet, home to 7.7 billion people. The Central streets of many cities now look like a subway station during rush hour — such as Las Ramblas in Barcelona or the Nevsky prospect in Saint-Petersburg. However, the most interesting is that most people do not look at the facades of historic buildings and architectural ensembles. Their eyes are in the small black mirror of the instrument they are holding. No need to be a genius to understand that society has changed with the development of technology and the advent of the Internet. But how?
What makes people happy?
One of the most interesting scientific researches, devoted to studying human happiness, lasts for 80 years now. You might even have heard about it. The famous study by researchers from Harvard Harvard Study of Adult Development began in 1938, when during the great Depression the researchers wanted to find out what factors affect a long and happy life. Subjects were selected 268 Harvard sophomores, but over time the control group has expanded in the 1970-ies in the study included 456 residents of Boston. 40 of them are still alive, today it is over 90 years old. Only 10 years ago, scientists involved in the study of wives of the subjects.
For decades researchers have studied the health status of the subjects and follow changes in their lives, including triumphs and failures in career and personal life. The most amusing fact is that until now, every two years, scientists call subjects and ask them how they’re doing, recording the answers. Over 80 years have changed and the authors of the study, inheriting the job from their predecessors. The results obtained by scientists, turned out to be amazing. The study showed that a close relationship, more than money or fame, make people happy throughout their life. These relationships protect from life’s troubles, help to maintain mental and physical health and are the best predictors of a long and happy life than social status, IQ or even genes. This finding proved true in all fields among students from Harvard, and among workers from Boston.
It turns out, for the happiness of the people need other people and a deep, sincere relationship with them. And if in the past the communication between people happened live, but now we rarely leave the house, and during meetings with friends sometimes pay more attention to their smartphones. It is logical to assume that communication between people has changed dramatically over the past decade. But how these changes will affect our lives and happiness? The answer to this question, most likely, we will get not soon. Only recently, scientists from Harvard have launched the second large-scale study — now they will observe the life of children of the first two groups of subjects. Thus, the preliminary results, we learn not earlier than in 15-20 years, so that today can only speculate how technology has changed changed the world and ourselves.
The Number Of Dunbar
The number of permanent relationships that can support people during life is 150. This is the conclusion reached by British anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist and a specialist in Primate behavior Robin Dunbar. According to the results of the study, all of the gregarious primates, which includes Homo Sapiens, distinguished by a complex social behavior. Primates actively interact with the members of the group, usually through grooming. The anthropologist drew attention to the relationship between the level of development of the new bark of the big hemispheres of the brain (the neocortex) — the people of this area responsible for sensory perception, lucid thinking, motor function and speech, and flock size in primates. On the basis of data on 38 species of primates, he derived a mathematical relationship between the development of the neocortex and the size of the pack, and based on the assessment of the development of the human brain proposed to estimate the optimal size of the human herd.
And how many people you maintain relationships? To discuss the Dunbar number and share stories of life with members of our Telegram chat.
To compare the data obtained for communities of Homo Sapiens, Dunbar returned to anthropology. The researcher found that the number of people in traditional rural settlements varies within expected limits them — up to two hundred people. In his work he suggested that the number neurocortical of neurons — electrically excitable cells in the brain of the brainthat process, store and transmit information through electrical and chemical signals limits the body’s ability to process information, which in turn limits the number of relationships that a person can simultaneously maintain. When the group size exceeds this number, the individual becomes difficult to maintain the number of contacts.
And really — if you ask the older generation how they got acquainted, communicated and learned any news, they will say they met on holidays with friends, went for walks, they tell each other goodbye, referring to the next meeting, and when the mistress wanted to prepare an unusual dish, the recipe asked the friend. A number of these friends on average did not exceed 150 people. All of the above examples say that in the past people interacted among themselves more often. They had to personally communicate with the familiar circle and to meet new people, which is undoubtedly well developed their social skills. It is possible that this experience of our parents and grandparents affected the understanding of generations — today’s young people are increasingly happening online, and this applies to both friendships and romantic relationships.
Today, the opportunity at any time to obtain all the necessary information just googling it, have significantly reduced the need for live communication between people. Why call a friend or meet with a friend who owns the information you need, when you have the Internet? Gradually this led to the fact that people began to communicate less in person and more online. So, the modern teenagers are harder to get acquainted with new people and to socialize than earlier generations.
Dopamine network, and true friends
A huge role in the modern world play the social network and the profiles that we create. Some psychologists call pages on social networks creating improved versions of itself, since every person to strive to make a good impression on others and often provides false information. It turns out that the communication today has changed, become more superficial. Also there is a fragmentation of interests — if in the past the whole country watched “the meeting Place cannot be changed” and common topics of conversation could be found with almost all, today the picture is quite different. The advent of the Internet and streaming services such as Netflix, on the one hand gave us the imaginary freedom of choice, and the other did the opportunity to meet with a man with similar interests in real life is more complicated.
Moreover, based on the work of Dunbar, it is possible to make a false conclusion that the number of friends in social networks should not exceed 150 people. But in fact we are adding to friends a large number of people, half of whom have never met or do not see you at all. The numbers in the tab friends today — a source of dopamine, but not real happiness.
According to a recent study, people able to support only five really close contact throughout life. That is why in your feed on social networks separate the first five. But with the other conditional 145 friends the communication is a bit strange — about once a year or half a year, we congratulate each other with messages like “happy birthday”, as if to let the other person know that we are mindful of its existence. But such “bombing” in social networks cannot be called a communication. It turns out, our ancestors communicated with each other much more often and more productive for us and this communication has often been a key factor in their life well-being.
Bombing is like or holiday greetings from a man with whom you don't maintain communication, both online and in real life.
I note that the Internet and information era have not only enriched the Russian language with the latest borrowing, but also changed the etiquette. So, in the modern world very much appreciated the ability to defer a smartphone and don’t make too many pictures in the presence of others.
The series “Black mirror” is no longer a series
Fans of social science fiction must have watched at least one episode of Charlie Brooker “Black mirror”. The first series of the third season talked about how the huskies in social networks affect the social status and determine the position in the society. And if the relationship between the people in the world that is shown in this episode, looks like an exaggeration, the reality is actually not as far — a taxi driver today can really lose work if a client a couple of times put him just one star out of five. And then, as occur almost all interactions between people in modern China like makes me think: “is this not the world of “black mirror””?
Of course, the advent of the Internet and modern technologies has changed not only friendship and relationship. Today, the Internet has an impact on almost every aspect of our way of life — from basic needs to the luxurious things. And as we move forward, it is logical to assume that dependence on the Internet and its role in our lives will only increase. The modern world blurs the boundaries, reminding a global city that exists thanks to the Internet. Despite the fact that communication today, more superficial, we can now communicate with anyone, anytime, anywhere. The Internet has become a sort of guide to all information and queries about beauty, health, fashion, lifestyle, personal hygiene, and much more. Moreover, we can not only work from home, but also to get education while sitting in your comfortable chair. The Internet has become a huge platform for the free exchange of knowledge. Yes, we rarely see each other’s faces, but we have Wikipedia.
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Ending this article, I can not mention that along with the boundless opportunities that had emerged with the Internet, the reasons for concern have not diminished. Our society is rapidly transformirovalsya the meme “okay, Boomer,” which recently swept the world of social media, a good example. Generation baby boomers — people born between 1943 and 1963 — don’t really understand the Millennials and especially members of the generation Z. the fact that the social environment in which the boomers grew up was completely different than the environment that surrounds today’s children and teenagers — and they, among other things, surrounded by screens of smartphones, tablets, televisions, and endless streams of information.
The changes relate to views on the world and even jokes. What was considered funny 20 years ago and what we were joking about the show “Friends” today, causing resentment of young people. Values, broadcast by generation boomers become obsolete with incredible speed, which only adds to the misunderstanding between people. But no less dangerous, I see the inability, and sometimes unwillingness of Internet users to verify the information. For anybody not a secret that the pseudoscientific and dangerous ideas, for example, about the dangers of vaccination, with incredible speed and success are distributed in social networks.
It would not have changed our society with the development of technology and the advent of the Internet, we are still human, with the usual errors of thinking, the need for communication and closeness with others. Perhaps the best what can make today each of us is to stop for a minute and think about in which direction and where we’re going.