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    Rights statement: © 2015 David-Barrett et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Women favour dyadic relationships, but men prefer clubs: cross-cultural evidence from social networking

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  • Tamas David-Barrett
  • Anna Rotkirch
  • James Carney
  • Isabel Behncke Izquierdo
  • Jaimie A. Krems
  • Dylan Townley
  • Elinor McDaniell
  • Anna Byrne-Smith
  • Robin I M Dunbar
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Article numbere0118329
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>16/03/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>PLoS ONE
Issue number3
Volume10
Number of pages1
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

The ability to create lasting, trust-based friendships makes it possible for humans to form large and coherent groups. The recent literature on the evolution of sociality and on the net- work dynamics of human societies suggests that large human groups have a layered struc- ture generated by emotionally supported social relationships. There are also gender differences in adult social style which may involve different trade-offs between the quantity and quality of friendships. Although many have suggested that females tend to focus on inti- mate relations with a few other females, while males build larger, more hierarchical coali- tions, the existence of such gender differences is disputed and data from adults is scarce. Here, we present cross-cultural evidence for gender differences in the preference for close friendships. We use a sample of *112,000 profile pictures from nine world regions posted on a popular social networking site to show that, in self-selected displays of social relation- ships, women favour dyadic relations, whereas men favour larger, all-male cliques. These apparently different solutions to quality-quantity trade-offs suggest a universal and funda- mental difference in the function of close friendships for the two sexes.

Bibliographic note

© 2015 David-Barrett et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.