Rohrer, Keller, and Elwert found that where students sit influences relationships formed with classmates. They report that they “randomized the seating charts of 182 3rd through 8th grade classrooms (N = 2,966 students) for the duration of one semester. We found that being seated next to each other increased the probability of a mutual friendship from 15% to 22% on average. Furthermore, induced proximity increased the latent propensity toward friendship equally for all students, regardless of students' . . . similarity with respect to educational achievement, gender, and ethnicity. However, the probability of a manifest friendship increased more among similar than among dissimilar students-a pattern mainly driven by gender.” Previous research has linked distances between the spaces where people spend time and likelihood of becoming friends, with closeness increasing the probability of friendships.
Julia Rohrer, Tamas Keller, and Felix Elwert. 2021. “Proximity Can Induce Diverse Friendships: A Large Randomized Classroom Experiment.” PLoS ONE, vol. 16, no. 8, e0255097, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0255097