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Seating Choice as a Function of Attitudinal Similarity-Dissimilarity

Baskett, Glen D.; Byrne, Donn
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Attitudes, Behavioral Science Research, College Students, Interpersonal Relationship, Sex Differences, Stranger Reactions


This study was designed to test the hypothesis that subjects will prefer to sit nearer to an agreeing stranger than to a disagreeing stranger. A second purpose was to provide a behavioral and an unobtrusive measure of interpersonal attraction. Subjects were 40 college student volunteers from an introductory psychology course. Each subject was assigned two confederates who posed as students from another class. One confederate was given prior instructions to agree with the subject on all but two of the subjects' attitudinal statements, the other confederate was told to disagree on all but two. The subjects were then given instructions for seating. The males failed to show a preference to sit nearer the agreeing confederate. Results show that: (1) females prefer to sit nearer a person who agrees with them, than one who disagrees with them; and (2) males respond to both attitudinal similarity and to their personal feelings about others in determining their location with respect to others.

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