The Anatomy of Friendship

Trends Cogn Sci. 2018 Jan;22(1):32-51. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2017.10.004.


Friendship is the single most important factor influencing our health, well-being, and happiness. Creating and maintaining friendships is, however, extremely costly, in terms of both the time that has to be invested and the cognitive mechanisms that underpin them. Nonetheless, personal social networks exhibit many constancies, notably in their size and their hierarchical structuring. Understanding the processes that give rise to these patterns and their evolutionary origins requires a multidisciplinary approach that combines social and neuropsychology as well as evolutionary biology.

Keywords: endorphins; gender differences; happiness; health; social networks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endorphins / metabolism
  • Friends*
  • Happiness
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Social Behavior*


  • Endorphins