Dunbar’s Number

Have you heard about Dunbar’s number?

💡 It is 150.

Recently I read the story about it and awestruck by the research about this number.

This 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. It is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. He found that the number of social group members 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 a primate can track appears to be limited by the volume of the neocortex which is 150.

Some analysis suggests that even in the age of social media we can’t be friends meaningfully with more than that number of people and humans can comfortably maintain 150 stable relationships (100-250 is range but 150 is commonly used).


In addition to Dunbar’s number, anthropological research shows that the type and depth of relationship we can have with people has clear limits:


🔹 Around five people—limit of people with whom we can hold close personal relationships and working memory
🔹 Around fifteen people—limit of people with whom we can experience deep trust
🔹 Around fifty people—limit of people with whom we can have mutual trust
🔹 Around 150 people—limit of people whose capabilities we can remember

Some companies create offices based on this rule. As soon as they reach around 150-200 numbers, they might prefer to open a new floor or new office to ensure cohesiveness among the working group.

Dunbar’s number has attracted a great deal of attraction over the years and Dunbar’s number yields many papers on Google Scholar and hits on Google.

One can claim relations with a large number of persons beyond this but they should understand that many relations beyond this number will be more of acquaintance and no meaningful relationship.

Modern world Marketing technology proposes to beat this number using Marketing automation, CRM & referral automation.

While some may argue that this might be applicable to early-age hunter-gatherers and the human brain has evolved now over the years, but I agree that this number (150) is a realistic number.

What are your thoughts!!!!

Biren Parekh