Symbolic importance and seating

We carry a lot of patterning with us from childhood, and it nudges us along in invisible ways. Try this one:

When you enter a space that has rows of seating and a center aisle (say, at a conference or some other room set up for presentations), is there an area of seating that you tend towards out of habit? Say, mid-section on a particular side, or always in the third row, or always in the back?

Now, think back to when you were a child. Where did your family tend to sit in church, synagogue, or whatever place of worship you attended? (If that doesn’t apply, where did your family tend to sit in a theater.)

Any connection?

For me, yes. A third of the way back from the front on the left side. Seeing this connection was a small “oh, wow” moment.

The seating question is a slight variation of one from Amy Schwab and David Schmaltz of True North Consulting. We had a catch-up lunch the other day while they were in town. The discussion touched on the hidden symbolic importance of work space configurations, and now has me wondering whether there’s any corellation between sharing a room as a child and a preference for a solo office versus a shared work space. That might go toward exlaining why pair programming in an open seating environment works well for some people but induces allergic reactions in others.