PEOPLE deliberately limit their social networks despite the popularity of social networking sites and mobile phones, according to a new Oxford University study.

The research shows that people using mobile phones still put most of their efforts into communicating with a small number of close friends or relatives, and operate a one in, one out policy with friends so their communication patterns stay the same when friendships change.

Dr Felix Reed-Tsochas, of the Said Business School, said people’s capacity for maintaining emotionally close relationships was finite.

He added: “While this number varies from person to person, what holds true in all cases is that at any point individuals are able to keep close relationships with only a small number of people.”

Dr Reed-Tsochas worked on the research with Prof Robin Dunbar from Oxford University’s department of experimental psychology.