What does the Fraternity Friendship Study do ?

Since 2013 a group of researchers from the universities of Leiden, Helsinki and Oxford is engaged in a research into the social development of students. The research is known as the Fraternity Friendship Study and is conducted through periodical surveys and experiments. This has been a unique opportunity for the research group to investigate a group of adolescents over a period of multiple years. The aim is to look at the emergence of friendships and social networks, especially the factors which play a role in the formation of a social connection and the effects on health and well-being.

Future plans

Currently we are processing and analysing data from the first project phase. In addition, plans are being made for additional data collection among old members. In this way, various hypotheses can be tested through a “virtual-time” setup.

Koploper survey

Since 2013 about 60% of the Koplopers have voluntarily partaken in the research by answering anonymous online surveys and/or participation in the experiments. Preliminary results have been presented at various lectures and conferences and have been received with great enthusiasm. Furthermore, a scientific article has been published based on experiments in which members of the fraternity sang fraternity-songs (see Pearce et al. at the page of publications). The promising survey data is being analysed at the moment and two major scientific publications are in preparation, which are expected to be sent to international journals for review in the fall of 2016.


Fraternity Friendship symposium

ffs sypmopsium

Several scientific papers haven been written with the data from this research and in 2014 a symposium was organized at the Hooglandse kerk in Leiden for students and researchers, including a lecture from the renowned evolutionary psychologist Prof. Robin Dunbar, known for Dunbar’s number : the idea that every human being has an average of 150 social active relationships.  

The Fraternity Friendschip symposium was supported by