The Social Brain

The Social Brain

The Psychology of Successful Groups


Brought to you by Penguin.

How many people does the ideal team contain? How do groups bond, earn trust and forge shared identities? How can leaders build environments adaptable enough to respond to shocks and still enable people to thrive together? How can you feel close to people if your only point of contact is a phone or a computer?

In The Social Brain leading experts from the worlds of evolutionary psychology and business management come together to offer a primer on great team working. They explain what size groups work and how to shape them according to the nature of the task at hand. They offer practical hints on how to diffuse tensions and encourage cooperation. And they demonstrate the vital importance of balancing unity and the need for different views and outlooks. By explaining precisely how the 'social brain' works, they show how human groups function and how to create great, high-performing teams.

©2023 Robin Dunbar (P)2023 Penguin Audio


  • We are a species whose social relationships have profound impacts on us physiologically, psychologically and socially, orientating us towards health and pro-social behaviour or away from them. In this remarkable and important book, international researchers and pioneers guide readers through the research on the evolution and social dynamics of small groups and how to cultivate them to bring out the best in us, rather than the worst. This book is a highly accessible, timely and invaluable guide to anybody working in groups, including businesses, schools and governments.
    Prof Paul Gilbert OBE, author of THE COMPASSIONATE MIND, and founder of compassion focussed therapy

About the authors

Tracey Camilleri

Tracey Camilleri is an Associate Fellow at Oxford University's Said Business School and the co-founder, along with Sam Rockey, of Thompson Harrison. Earlier in her career she variously ran her own consulting company, WMC Communications.
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Samantha Rockey

Sam Rockey is an Associate Fellow at the Oxford Säid Business School Open programme and was formerly the Global Head of Leadership Development at the FTSE top-10 company SABMiller, now part of AB InBev.
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Robin Dunbar

Robin Dunbar is Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Oxford. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Anthropological Institute, and an elected Foreign Member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. He has been awarded the Osman Hill Medal and the Huxley Medal. His popular science books include The Human Story, How Many Friends Does One Person Need? and Human Evolution, and have been translated into a dozen languages.
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