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University of Pennsylvania psychologists studying the cognitive mechanisms behind human friendship have determined that how you rank your best friends is closely related to how you think your friends rank you. The results are consistent with a new theory called the Alliance Hypothesis for Human Friendship, distinct from traditional explanations for human friendship that focused on wealth, popularity or similarity.
"Friendships are about alliances," Kurzban, an associate professor, said. "We live in a world where conflict can arise and allies must be in position beforehand. This new hypothesis takes into account how we value those alliances. In a way, one of the main predictors of friendship is the value of the alliance. The value of an ally, or friend, drops with every additional alliance they must make, so the best alliance is one in which your ally ranks you above everyone else as well."
More darkly, the new model also serves as an explanation for some petty human behaviors not explained by traditional friendship theories. For example, the Alliance Hypothesis explains why people are extremely concerned with comparisons to others in their social circle. It also explains how jealousies and aggression can erupt among groups of friends as alliances are shifted and maintained.
If the Alliance Hypothesis for Human Friendship is correct, then theories about alliances from game theory and international relations might help us better understand friendship. These theories suggest that people in conflict would benefit strategically from ranking their friends, hiding their friend-rankings and ranking friends according to their own position in partners' rankings. To employ these tactics in their friendships, people need to gather and store information about their friends' other friendships. That is, they have to readily understand the social world not only from their own perspective but also from the perspectives of their friends.
Adam Powell, AHRC Centre for the Evolution of Cultural Diversity, says: "Our paper proposes a new model for why modern human behaviour started at different times in different regions of the world, why it disappeared in some places before coming back, and why in all cases it occurred more than 100,000 years after modern humans first appeared.
"By modern human behaviour, we mean a radical jump in technological and cultural complexity, which makes our species unique. This includes symbolic behavior, such as abstract and realistic art, and body decoration using threaded shell beads, ochre or tattoo kits; musical instruments; bone, antler and ivory artefacts; stone blades; and more sophisticated hunting and trapping technology, like bows, boomerangs and nets.
Professor Stephen Shennan, UCL Institute of Archaeology, says: "Modern humans have been around for at least 160,000 to 200,000 years but there is no archaeological evidence of any technology beyond basic stone tools until around 90,000 years ago. In Europe and western Asia this advanced technology and behaviour explodes around 45,000 years ago when humans arrive there, but doesn't appear in eastern and southern Asia and Australia until much later, despite a human presence. In sub-Saharan Africa the situation is more complex. Many of the features of modern human behaviour – including the first abstract art – are found some 90,000 years ago but then seem to disappear around 65,000 years ago, before re-emerging some 40,000 years ago.
"Scientists have offered many suggestions as to why these cultural explosions occurred where and when they did, including new mutations leading to better brains, advances in language, and expansions into new environments that required new technologies to survive. The problem is that none of these explanations can fully account for the appearance of modern human behaviour at different times in different places, or its temporary disappearance in sub-Saharan Africa."
I have often wondered about the whole human friendship thing, especially on online forums in what constitutes a "friend" over a "acquaintance" or "professional friend". I like to think that on this thread a lot of my friends are more in the "professional acquaintance area", some maybe can be classified into "friends", it is difficult to take a friendship online to the real world level so this is anticipated.
Originally posted by jkrog08
reply to post by Stormdancer777
Well in my very limited experience (since I am only 23) I have learned that your best friends are the ones most like you on a core level, and regardless the time or change they will always be there and ready to share life with you.