A post on Cosmic Variance that discusses the upcoming Super Tuesday primary mentions the concept of Dunbar’s Number in passing.
From the Wikipedia definition:
“Dunbar’s number, which is very approximately 150, represents a theorized cognitive limit to the number of individuals with whom any one person can maintain stable social relationships, the kind of relationships that go with knowing who each person is and how each person relates socially to every other person. Group sizes larger than this generally require more restricted rules, laws, and enforced policies and regulations to maintain a stable cohesion. Dunbar’s number is a significant value in sociology and anthropology. It was proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who theorized that ‘this limit is a direct function of relative neocortex size, and that this in turn limits group size … the limit imposed by neocortical processing capacity is simply on the number of individuals with whom a stable inter-personal relationship can be maintained.’”
I note that the upper edge of a pastoral-style congregation’s weekly attendance is around 150 as well. I’m guessing that there’s a correlation. The leadership style in a pastoral congregation is based on the individual member’s relationship with the pastor of the congregation. As churches grow, that model changes, and the changes begin to really pinch as ASA (average Sunday attendance) climbs past 150. Now I have a name for that effect I guess.
Read the original post here.