HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A recent study of free-ranging macaques showed a connection between number of friends and the volume of certain areas of the brain responsible for empathy.

The study, titled Social connections predict brain structure in multidimensional free-ranging primate society, was published in ScienceAdvances.

The study found that the number of social partners had a correlation to the volume of the mid-superior temporal sulcus and the ventral-dysgranular insula, “implicated in social decision-making and empathy,” the study stated.

The study used “deformation-based morphometry” to identify the anatomical differences in the left hemisphere of the primates brains.

The size of the primate’s social network showed a positive correlation between volume of the two previously mentioned sections of the brain, which have also been shown to show expression of empathy in humans.

However, the study found no significant connection between the anatomical structure of the brain and social status.