Seat Selection as a Function of Cultural and Individual Differences: Insights from Undergraduate Students in China




seat-selection, undergraduate students, China, higher education


Students’ seating selection is a significant physical variable that has implications for both teachers and students. These seating preferences have been linked to students’ personalities, motivation, and academic performance. However, there is limited knowledge regarding the cultural influences on these preferences. In this exploratory qualitative study, we aim to investigate the cultural factors that influence the seating choices of undergraduate students. The study participants were recruited using purposive sampling. Face-to-face interviews and scenario simulation surveys were utilized to collect data, which was analyzed using thematic analysis. The study’s findings suggest that seating preferences are largely a function of individual differences and personal preferences, which often stem from personal and cultural factors. These factors are discussed under five primary themes: course academic value, gaining positive experiences, avoiding negative experiences, modesty and humility, and social belonging. These findings have implications for teaching and learning and for instructors, especially those from foreign cultures.

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Author Biographies

Lu Kehan, Wenzhou-Kean University

Lu Kehan (CHN), a senior psychology student at Wenzhou-Kean University, adeptly employs various research methods, encompassing both quantitative and qualitative approaches, to address hypotheses within psychological contexts.

Amrita Kaur, Wenzhou-Kean University

Amrita Kaur (CHN) is assistant professor of psychology at College of Liberal Arts, Wenzhou-Kean University. Her primary area of research concerns teaching, learning, and assessment in higher education, students as partners, learning motivation and engagement, and cross-cultural studies for learning.

Zhou Yu, Wenzhou-Kean University

Zhou Yu (USA) is a master’s student studying cognitive psychology at Vanderbilt University. She is interested in psycholinguistics, especially in conversation settings.

He Yuzhen, Wenzhou-Kean University

He Yuzhen (GBR) is a graduate of the women’s health program at University College London. Her work focuses on women’s physiopathology and women’s health legal disputes as well as women’s mental health assessment.

Huang Yuchong, Wenzhou-Kean University

Huang Yuchong (CHN) is a psychology graduate from Wenzhou-Kean University. She specializes in data processing as well as psychological experimental design.

Zhan Yinuo, Wenzhou-Kean University

Zhan Yinou (USA) is a TESOL student at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work focuses on fostering multilingual students’ awareness of English as a Lingua Franca.

Mohammad Noman, Wenzhou-Kean University

Mohammad Noman (CHN) is the EDD program coordinator for Doctor in Education (EdD) and a professor at Wenzhou-Kean University. His research interests include teaching and learning in schools and higher education, educational leadership, and student motivation.


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A student learning place with two seating booths with work tables, and book shelves behind the booths.




How to Cite

Kehan, Lu, Amrita Kaur, Zhou Yu, He Yuzhen, Huang Yuchong, Zhan Yinuo, and Mohammad Noman. 2024. “Seat Selection As a Function of Cultural and Individual Differences: Insights from Undergraduate Students in China”. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 12 (February).