Friends and Human Brain Function

In the process of maintaining good health and longer life, many people concentrate on medical consultancy, prescribed diets, and herbal supplements, but they overlook the importance friendship. Interestingly, friendship is one of the most powerful tools which can help improve recovery, reduce mental pressure, slow human aging, and facilitate longevity. Human identity, which consist of the ideas that define every person’s character, is facing massive influence, especially from our close acquaintances. This influence is threatening human personality, particularly how we behave and carry out our daily activities right from the heart to our brains. The source of happiness and individual’s full potential to achieve their goals are being modified and reshaped by our interactions with close friends, so friends are a vital source of influence in our lives.

Interaction and association with close friends do not change the way the brain functions, but they only start a response that influences our behaviors.Friends can be the most important part of every person’s life. The presence of our friends sparks our brains to start a response that partially changes our behaviors depending on the level of the association. One of the traits that define our humanity while dealing with our close friends is empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and capture the feelings experienced by our friends. A research conducted on the neurobiological response on empathy proved that this feeling toward our acquaintances is greatly wired on simulation (Beckes, Coan, & Hasselmo, 2012). Magnetic resonance imaging technique together with statistical relation was employed to show the association between the activation of the brain between the response of self- focused threat and those facing our friends. Neuroimaging theory state that our capability to position ourselves in the situation our friends are in encompasses the simulation of experiences our comrades are encountering through neural circuits directed at detecting our mental state (Beckes, Coan, & Hasselmo, 2012). To be able to identify the shared mental neural networks, the researchers employed conjunction analysis which aided in determining the active brain segments under the influence of two different conditions.  The results of the conjunction analysis revealed that the responses that affect our behavior are almost similar when danger is directed to our close or emotionally detached acquaintances (Beckes, Coan, & Hasselmo, 2012). The defining characteristic of our social connections increases the level of neural representation intersection between our close friends and us so, our relationship only sparks responses but does not contribute to changing our brains functionality.

Research on alcohol consumptions among the adolescence is yet another study that proves that close friends insignificantly affect the functioning of the brain. This study was aimed at investigating the impact of close friends, siblings and their relative friend’s alcohol consumption behavior on young people.  Data were collected by use of a longitudinal questionnaire. After analysis and generation of structural modeling equation, it was found that there is a strong cross-section similarity between these adolescents’ and their close friend’s drinking habits (Poelen, Engels, Van Der Vorst, Scholte, & Vermulst, 2007). From this study, it is evident that friendship and family influences are vital in building the young people’s drinking culture. Furthermore, the research showed that adolescent’s alcohol consumption history is entirely differentiated from their friends or older relative’s drinking culture. Adolescent’s drinking habits are shaped through their interaction with the older drinking friends or siblings.

Thus, close friends only influence the behaviors which may change over time. It is evident that interaction with close friends has no impact on the functioning of our brains. The brain has the capacity to manage the influence resulting from the complexities created by humans and their environment. Our brains enjoy creating new associations, and their positive impacts on learning, good life, health but its functionality are really changed. 

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