Are Your Friends Dragging You Down?

New research states that sticking to the same crowd can keep you from winning the Nobel Prize

The next time you feel as if you’re lacking in the brains department, don’t blame fatigue or your DNA. Point the finger at your friends.

A new study from Finland reveals that hanging out with the same people can stunt your ability to learn. Here’s why: People tend to share their vast wealth of knowledge with those in their social circle—and the knowledge they obtain tends to be the same. Translation: Researchers are fairly certain that someone who relies on Access Hollywood for news will probably have limited insight regarding the ongoing nuclear crisis in the Middle East.

NBCNews.com reported on this Finnish study, while also referring to previous yet similar research from MIT, which discovered that surrounding yourself with the same people may decrease your chances of leading a healthier lifestyle. The site also references an Australian study that suggests “people with large, rich social networks have bigger, more developed amygdalas, the brain region associated with memory and emotion.”

So the take-home lesson is get out there and extend yourself to more friendships. Start a book club, reconnect with a former colleague, ask your sibling if you can tag along, it all works. It’s not about giving up the friends you’ve had for years—it's about meeting people who can open your mind, introduce you to new interests and bring a fresh perspective to life.

And since all of us probably have at least one friend who still hasn’t realized that Tuesday was Election Day, this is actually a good thing.

 

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