27. February 2010 05:07
It's always fun to guess how much your roommate affects the type of person you become. Without a doubt, someone that you live with for an extended period of time has some type of effect on you, but how much? There was a studydone by Bruce Sacerdote at Dartmouth University measuring just that. In the study, titled "Peer Effects With Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates", Bruce analyzes freshmen year roommates and dormmates that are randomly assigned to live on campus together.
He found that roommates will have an effect on your GPA as well as social groups that you decide to join. Interestingly, peers seem to have no real effect on major decisions such as what college major you decide on. Why is this? Well its certainly more difficult to study in your room if you have a roommate that is partying alongside you all night long.
Why are freshmen influenced by roommates and dormmates to join social groups, such as fraternities and sororities? The study says there was no direct correlation between your roommate and what social group you joined, however there was a strong correlation between your dormmates (others in your same residence hall) and which you joined.
Give the study a read, which is full of insights and lots of technical data results from the study. And comment here if you've come across any other interesting roommate studies!