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Study of mans need for personal space

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Why do we need buffer zones? We all have an invisible, protective bubble around us, a primal need hardwired into our brains that is constantly switched on like a force field. It has layers, some layers close to the skin like a bodysuit, others farther away like a quarantine tent. Elaborate networks in the brain monitor those protective bubbles and keep them clear of danger by subtly, or sometimes drastically, adjusting our actions. You walk through a cluttered room weaving effortlessly around furniture. A pigeon swoops past your head in the street and you duck.

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Why some people have zero sense of personal space: study

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Conceived and designed the experiments: TI GR. Performed the experiments: GR. Analyzed the data: TI GR. Wrote the paper: TI GR. Collaborated for interpretation: YC FF.

Provided critical revisions: FF YC. Do peripersonal space for acting on objects and interpersonal space for interacting with con-specifics share common mechanisms and reflect the social valence of stimuli? To answer this question, we investigated whether these spaces refer to a similar or different physical distance.

Participants provided reachability-distance for potential action and comfort-distance for social processing judgments towards human and non-human virtual stimuli while standing still passive or walking toward stimuli active. Comfort-distance was larger than other conditions when participants were passive, but reachability and comfort distances were similar when participants were active.

Both spaces were modulated by the social valence of stimuli reduction with virtual females vs males, expansion with cylinder vs robot and the gender of participants. These findings reveal that peripersonal reaching and interpersonal comfort spaces share a common motor nature and are sensitive, at different degrees, to social modulation.

Therefore, social processing seems embodied and grounded in the body acting in space. The space around the body is of fundamental importance to interact with objects and persons.

In the literature, two traditions of research have explored body space: one about peripersonal space in the neuro-cognitive field, one about personal space in the social psychology field. Peripersonal space is the first margin between the surface of our body and the external world. For this reason some authors have conceived it as a protective buffer surrounding the body and prompting defensive actions [6] — [8]. Neuro-functional studies have shown that peripersonal space is represented by highly integrated multisensory and motor processes in frontal-parietal and posteromedial areas [4] , [9] — [12].

Moreover, peripersonal space seems also sensitive to social-emotional components and social interactions [13] —. In the neuro-cognitive literature, a well known experimental task to assess the size of peripersonal space is the reachability judgment: participants have to evaluate if visual stimuli presented at various distances from the body are reachable or not [2] , [17].

People are quite accurate in estimating the extension of their peripersonal space in relation to the length of their arm [18] , [19]. However, reachability judgments are also influenced by environmental properties, emotional state and dangerousness of the situation [2] , [17] , [20] , [21]. For example, the size of peripersonal space reduces when dealing with dangerous objects that may threaten physical integrity [6]. People tend to react to spatial violations by extending distance from intruders when feeling in hostile and uncomfortable situations and, vice-versa, by reducing distance when feeling in friendly and comfortable situations [20] , [22] — [24].

Different kinds of stimuli representing the interactant have been used: real confederates, paper and pencil materials, manikins [28].

Overall, the size of this space may contract or expand depending on situational, emotional and individual characteristics such as gender [23] , [25] , [29] , [30]. The parallel reading of peripersonal and interpersonal space literature suggests that there is an intrinsic relationship between action, social interaction and spatial processing. The use of spatial distance is inherent in action with objects and interaction with other people. One can thus question the relationship between peripersonal space for acting on objects and interpersonal space for interacting with con-specifics.

The conceptual definitions and the experimental paradigms used to study peripersonal space stress the sensorimotor aspect of spatial processing, whereas the conceptual definitions and the experimental paradigms used to study interpersonal space stress the social value of spatial processing. For this reason, studies on peripersonal space have mainly focused on the individual-object relationship, whereas studies on interpersonal space focused on the individual-individual relationship.

Both literatures agree on the fact that spatial distance is inherent in our actions and social interactions, and that the size of spatial boundaries around the body are revealing of underlying functions and mechanisms.

The issue addressed here is whether interpersonal space overlaps with peripersonal space when participants interact with their physical and social environment. In the present study we explored the relationship between peripersonal space and interpersonal space in the interaction with humans and objects by using the immersive virtual reality IVR technology. Once immersed in a virtual room, female and male participants interacted with computer-driven virtual stimuli: young males and females, anthropomorphic robot and cylinder.

Participants could stand still while virtual stimuli approached them passive approach or could walk toward immobile virtual stimuli active approach. They had to stop themselves or stop the virtual stimuli in order to provide two types of measures: reachability-distance, i. Finally, the reliability of IVR to study social interactions has been proved in several studies [26] , [31].

Our hypothesis was that reachability-distance and comfort-distance share a common aspect that is rooted in the motor nature of the space around the body. Thus from an action-centered perspective [14] , these distances should be more similar when we can act towards stimuli active approach than when we cannot passive approach. Indeed, peripersonal reaching space is linked by definition to action; at the same time, approaching-avoidant movements are necessary to define the desired comfort area.

Instead, when another person moves toward us, we do not have direct control over the interaction. Therefore, we could be particularly sensitive to possible spatial violations and, as a preparation to defend, we would enlarge our body space.

This effect should be more sensitively expressed in comfort than reaching space. Moreover, since it has been recently shown that the size of peripersonal space shrinks in the presence of a person as compared to a manikin [16] , we expect a reduction of distances with human as compared to non-human virtual stimuli.

Among non-human stimuli, we used an anthropomorphic robot i. If body space is finely sensitive to the social valence of stimuli, distances should be smaller with the robot than the cylinder.

This pattern, even if more expected for interpersonal space, should also be present in peripersonal space to confirm its sensitivity to social modulation. Finally, the proxemics literature shows that male and female participants differ in their spatial behavior: females tend to expand the space around their body as compared to males since they are more sensitive to intrusions and safety characteristics of contexts [25].

Therefore, we expect a male-female main effect and an interaction between the gender of participants and the virtual stimuli. Participants gave written consent to take part in the study. Recruitment and testing were in conformity with the the requirements of the Helsinki Declaration. All participants had normal or corrected-to-normal vision. The virtual scenario spanned 60 degrees horizontally by 38 degrees vertically. Moreover, the Data Glove, a glove equipped with 14 tactile-pressures sensors providing the sense of hand movement, was also used.

Graphics modeling were created by 3D Google Sketch Up 7. The position and orientation tracking systems allowed participants to realistically experience dynamic and stereoscopic visuo-motor input as if they were in front of natural stimuli. It consisted of green walls, white ceiling and grey floor. Pilot studies were performed to select the avatars most similar to human beings rated on a 5-point scale.

The selected human avatars represented male and female adults aged about 30 years and perceived as representation of Italian citizens. As shown in Figure 1 , male and female avatars kept their arms extended along the body. An anthropomorphic robot and a cylinder were also used see Figure 1. The height of the virtual stimuli was cm. The gaze of human avatars and anthropomorphic robot was kept looking straight ahead throughout the experimental sessions and their facial expression was neutral [26].

Since distance can be influenced by familiar size in impoverished visual environments [33] , in a control experiment 20 participants half females judged the height of each virtual stimulus while positioned at three counterbalanced positions from them 1. A straight dashed white line placed on the floor traced the path that participants and virtual agents followed during both approach-conditions. Panel b shows from the left the other virtual stimuli used: a cylinder, an adult woman, and an antrophomorphic-robot.

The experimenter introduced participants to the IVR devices to make them acquainted with the virtual world. All participants received written instructions about the task that were then orally repeated by the experimenter. Then, there was a familiarization phase. Data Glove was used to make participants perceive their arm fully stretched in the virtual scene. Through the HMD, participants were fully immersed in the virtual room where they could see the virtual stimuli and could make extensive exploratory movements.

They could not see any part of the physical world. During this familiarization phase, participants were asked to describe their perception of the virtual environment and their interaction with the humans avatars and objects. Nobody claimed problems with the IVR devices or with virtual room and stimuli. After the familiarization session, participants were led by the experimenter on a pre-marked starting position and had to hold a joystick in their dominant right hand.

Throughout the experimental session, the participants stood with their arms extended along their body, similarly to the posture assumed by virtual humans see Figure 1.

The experimental session was divided in four blocks corresponding to the experimental conditions: i passive-comfort distance, ii active-comfort distance; iii passive-reachability, iv active-reachability.

For each block, participant received a training session in which an example of the entire procedure was shown. Each block started with a short presentation of the instructions 2 s followed by a fixation cross ms. Afterwards, the testing phase started. This procedure was repeated in passive and active approach conditions. In both conditions the path between participants and stimuli was 3 m long.

Walking movements of human avatars reproduced the natural swing of biological motion. After pressing the button, the virtual stimulus disappeared and participants had to return to their starting position. Once there, the experimenter pressed a key that prompted the subsequent trial.

Participants walked forwards and backwards by following the white dashed-line on the virtual ground. The experimenter supervised and helped participants when necessary. A 5 min break was introduced every two blocks with the HMD taken off. Each virtual stimulus was presented 4 times within each block for a total of 64 trials. Order of blocks was counterbalanced across participants according to a Latin square design.

Within each block, order of trials presentation was quasi-randomized. Each block lasted about 6 min. At the ending of each block there was a manipulation check: participants had to report which task they were instructed to perform. In the post-experimental final interview, participants were asked if they were aware of the purpose of the experiment and nobody claimed so. Participants reported they preferred the active rather than the passive condition.

The majority of female participants reported they had no particular preference but disliked particularly the virtual male and the cylinder. The majority of male participants indicated they found particularly pleasant their experience with virtual females but not with virtual males. We measured the distance at which the participants stopped themselves or the virtual stimuli according to the task Reachability or Comfort distance and the condition Active or Passive.

Personal Space

Conceived and designed the experiments: TI GR. Performed the experiments: GR. Analyzed the data: TI GR. Wrote the paper: TI GR.

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Human Behavior and Environment pp Cite as. Some 10 years ago Edward T. Hall, a cultural anthropologist, wrote The Hidden Dimension Hall, , 2 a book that focused on how different cultures used space and the physical environment. Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Dimensions of Human Behavior: Person and Environment presents a current and comprehensive examination of human behavior using a multidimensional framework. Author Elizabeth D. Hutchison explores the biological dimension and the social factors that affect human development and behavior, encouraging readers to connect their own personal experiences with social trends in order to recognize the unity of person and environment. Aligned with the curriculum guidelines set forth by the Council on Social Work Education CSWE , the substantially updated Sixth Edition includes a greater emphasis on culture and diversity, immigration, neuroscience, and the impact of technology. Twelve new case studies illustrate a balanced breadth and depth of coverage to help readers apply theory and general social work knowledge to unique practice situations. Elizabeth D. She was on the faculty in the Social Work Department at Elms College from to and served as chair of the department from to

By Leah Bitsky. A new study conducted by the University of Western Ontario found that a neurotransmitter in the brain called dopamine could be a key component in regulating social space. Studying the behavioral patterns of fruit flies, a team of researchers lead by Anne F. Female fruit flies on the other hand would increase their social distance from each other when both too little and too much dopamine was released.

Viviane Louise Daigle , Syracuse University. The present meta-analysis examined sex differences in personal space preferences.

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When we discuss space in a nonverbal context, we mean the space between objects and people. Space is often associated with social rank and is an important part of business communication. Who gets the corner office? Why is the head of the table important and who gets to sit there?

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Proxemics is the study of human use of space and the effects that population density has on behaviour, communication, and social interaction. Proxemics is one among several subcategories in the study of nonverbal communication , including haptics touch , kinesics body movement , vocalics paralanguage , and chronemics structure of time. Edward T. Hall , the cultural anthropologist who coined the term in , defined proxemics as "the interrelated observations and theories of humans use of space as a specialized elaboration of culture". According to Hall, the study of proxemics is valuable in evaluating not only the way people interact with others in daily life, but also "the organization of space in [their] houses and buildings, and ultimately the layout of [their] towns".

Keywords. Spatial Distance Nonverbal Behavior Personal Space Spatial Zone Interpersonal Distance Beware of rudely crossing it: I have no gun, but I can spit.1 Altman, I. Some perspectives on the study of man-environment I Altman - ‎ - ‎Cited by - ‎Related articles.

All rights reserved. Discover how your brain determines what you see. Meet the artist whose amnesia taught scientists about the brain. The news is full of stories of men inappropriately touching women or invading their personal space.







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