Classmates Sitting Next to Each Other More Likely to Become Friends


, revealed that friendships mirror classroom seat assignments. College students sitting subsequent to or close by each other have been extra prone to be mates with each other than college students seated elsewhere within the classroom. Furthermore, longitudinal analyses confirmed that

“The students in our study spent most of every day with the same 15 or so classmates. By the middle of the school year, there were no unfamiliar peers,” mentioned Brett Laursen, Ph.D., senior creator and a professor of psychology in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt School of Science. “Yet when seat assignments changed, new seatmates were apt to become new friends, consistent with claims that exposure alone is not a sufficient condition for friendship. Apparently, proximity transcends familiarity by providing new opportunities for the kind of exchanges that form the basis of a friendship.”


Contributors within the examine included 235 college students (129 boys, 106 women) in grades 3 – 5 (ages 8-11) who nominated mates at two time factors (13 -14 weeks aside). Kids attended a public main faculty in South Florida that mirrored public faculty college students within the state by way of ethnicity and household revenue.

For the examine, instructor seating charts have been used to calculate three types of proximity for every pair of scholars in a classroom. Neighbor proximity described classmates seated straight beside each other in a row or at a desk, and people seated straight throughout from each other at a desk. Group proximity included classmates recognized as neighbors in addition to those that have been close to neighbors; the latter have been both one seat away in the identical row or diagonal to 1 one other on the identical desk. Findings for group proximity have been probably the most strong, suggesting that kids are prepared (and in a position) to miss their nearest neighbors in favor of these seated shut sufficient for sustained communication.

“Of course, students were not glued to their seats; interactions with far-seated peers undoubtedly occurred during lunch, recess and (in some classes) free time activities,” mentioned Laursen. “The fact that new friends tended to emerge among the newly near-seated – despite opportunities for engagement with other classmates – underscores the power of proximity in friendship formation.”

Classroom proximity assumes outsized significance throughout the elementary faculty years as a result of kids this age have few different sustained alternatives to fulfill (and interact with) mates and since companionship is central to the definition of friendship. It has lengthy been recognized that almost all kids report that almost all of their mates are in the identical classroom. We now know that they’re in all probability seated close by.

Elementary faculty kids spend most of their days in assigned seats, within the firm of classmates. In most simple faculty school rooms, academics determine who sits subsequent to whom and, by extension, who interacts with whom.

“Taken together, our findings highlight the enormous influence that teachers wield over the interpersonal lives of children. With great power comes great responsibility,” mentioned Laursen. “We urge teachers to exercise their power judiciously. Unintended social consequences have been known to arise when adults meddle in the social lives of children.”

Supply: Eurekalert


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