On “The Limits of Friendship” – Pre-writing 1

Psychologist Maria Konnikova

Activities like this one contribute to your Writing Process grade (10%) and your Active Reading Process grade (10%)

Respond in lengthy paragraphs to each of the following prompts. Incorporate key concepts and brief quotations from Konnikova in your responses. Be sure to use signal phrases and parenthetical citations (referencing paragraph numbers) whenever you quote or paraphrase another writer’s words.

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  1. As you read, mark passages where Konnikova defines the Dunbar number and the rule of three. Then explain these terms in your own words, referencing specific passages from Konnikova to support your response.
  2. What do you think makes a good friend? List the qualities of close friendship. As you read, consider the effect of social media on friendship.
  3. What’s the role of biology in social organization? Examine closely those places where Konnikova draws from the research of Robin Dunbar and others. Does biology determine society? (PRO TIP: Click on the link to read the definition of determine.)
  4. Examine your list of friends on the social media site you use most. How many of them are “real” friends? Try applying the rule of three to your list of friends. Does your analysis of your friendship group confirm or challenge Konnikova’s argument? How?

Confused about how to submit your pre-writing homework? Watch this video.