For most of us, the people we see on a regular basis – our social network – are a defining part of our lives.
Friends help us understand our place in the world and research shows that strong friendships are associated with reduced anxiety.
But there is a growing body of evidence that suggests people tend to make friends with people who are similar to them.
It may well be that we could all benefit from widening the circles we move in. For example, mixing with a diverse set of people can stimulate creativity and benefits both the individual and society.
The impact that our social networks have on the strength of our opinions is an area that researchers are investigating.
The attitudes we hold most strongly guide the way we see the world and are more resistant to being changed by the persuasion of others.
Often, we seek out, process and retain information that confirms our views, while discarding information that disagrees with our opinions.