Dr. Dunbar believes that the much larger human groups, of 150 members or so, overcame the grooming barrier by developing a new kind of social glue, namely language. Group singing, or chorusing, may have been an intermediate step in this process, he suggests. He has preliminary evidence that singing in church produces endorphins, a class of brain hormone thought to be important in social bonding, he said in an e-mail message.
In a comment to the last entry there was a request to see my course assignments. Well, class has started — for everyone playing along at home, here's assignment number 1.
The course seems promising so far. There's going to be a lot of very interesting reading involved.
Things that are on their way:
It's been a busy summer, alright?
In the meantime, please enjoy this description of the course I'm going to take this semester:
MIE1403H - Methods in Human Factors Research - P. Milgram
This course is intended for people carrying out graduate level research in Human Factors. It covers a variety of techniques for recording and analyzing empirical data. Topics to be covered include psychophysical methods, subjective scaling, questionnaires, signal detection theory, information theory, physiological monitoring, spectral analysis, tracking, and manual control modeling. There is no textbook for the course. Evaluation is based on a series of assignments related to the topics covered in class.