Friday, June 13, 2008

Proximity Breeds Friendship

In her book Girls Like Us:  Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon - and the Journey of a Generation, Sheila Weller writes of Carole King and her grammar-school girlfriend, Barbara Grossman, "Barbara and Carole's friendship started the way many friendships started back then: in line. Both were small so they were placed next to each other." In another chapter, Weller notes that Carly Simon, upon starting a new school in seventh grade, was befriended by Jessica Hoffmann "the other tall girl at the back of the line." 
Does proximity breed friendship? A psychological investigation of college freshmen suggests it might. Researchers from the University of Leipzig found that students randomly assigned to sit next to each other when meeting for the first time had higher ratings of "friendship intensity" one year later than they had with those seated further away. The study was written up in a recent issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association of Psychological Science.

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