In a certain group size (a small tour group, neighbours in a small apartment block, and the people sitting near us in a small classroom) we bond and become a familial group, looking out for each other.

Beyond a certain groups size, however, we retreat within our own psycho-social bubble, and start behaving as if we were the only people in the given environment.

We blank out the other occupants of a crowded train, plane or shopping mall. I have sometimes walked straight past people I know in a crowded place.

This deliberate restriction of awareness may well be a sanity-protection mechanism. By slashing the amount of incoming stimuli (when we know we are safe) we reduce the amount of stress we are subjected to.

Does this mean effective collaboration is only possible in groups of a certain smallish size? Similar to the way military companies and Amish communities are organised in groups of around 150 members.

Put another way: a small village where everyone can get to know everyone else is better able to collaborate effectively than the people in a large metropolis.

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