Ever wondered what goes through your mind when you choose where to sit on the train? Or in a waiting room? An interesting study by researchers for the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin has an interesting take on it all.
By analyzing seating distance, Sean Mackinnon, Christian Jordan and Anne Wilson found we sit closer to people who look like ourselves. People with glasses are more inclined to sit near others who wear them. Those with long hair sit closer to others with long hair and so on and so on. The assumption our brains seem to be working on is that people with similar physical traits will share similar attitudes - and we're more likely to be accepted by people like ourselves. Sensible as it sounds (even if opposites attracting is another law of nature), it's pretty dismal news if we aspire to a society that's more integrated and thrives on diversity. So now that you know, be the cat among the pigeons. Go sit next to someone different.