Project 1: Kinship vs friendship and cognitive load
Our previous work has shown rather clearly that kin and friends seem to constitute two separate kinds of relationship. Friendships are fragile, but kinship relations are remarkably robust over time. One hypothesis is that kinship might be a mechanism for reducing cognitive load in social networks: we only need to remember one fact about kin (that we are related), whereas we need to remember many details about our relationships with individual friends. Kinship might thus allow us to maintain larger networks for a marginal increase in cognitive load.