In case of classrooms, always choosing the same spot allows students to effectively regulate and control their relationships with their fellow students in a shared space, which makes them feel more comfortable and less vulnerable. Building off earlier studies, Marco Costa, a psychologist at the University of Bologna, decided to objectively track student seating habits.
Over the space of four weeks, he used unobtrusive photography to record the seating habits of two university lecture halls containing 47 and 31 students respectively. The study was conducted using freshmen at the start of the term to minimize the impact of friendships dictating seating arrangements. He also chose classrooms in which there were sufficiently more seats than the number of students enrolled, thus allowing students more degrees of freedom as well as preempting the possibility of crowd pressure. Using this data, he then estimated the mean displacements and territory dimensions to see the seating patterns.
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