Nav: Home

How other people affect our interpersonal space

May 24, 2018

Have you ever felt the urge to cross the road or move seats on a train after a conversation taking place nearby suddenly becomes aggressive? Well, for the first time a scientific study has shown how the size of your interpersonal space changes depending on the tone and content of other people's conversations.

The research, carried out by academics from Anglia Ruskin University, University College London, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Genoa, has been published by the journal PLOS ONE.

The experiment involved participants listening to two recorded conversations between two people, one aggressive and one neutral.

After listening to each conversation, the psychologists measured the comfortable level of that person's interpersonal space using a 'stop-distance' technique. This involved participants listening to a recording of footsteps walking towards them immediately after the conversations ended.

They were asked to stop the recording as soon as the footsteps were too close to them and they started to feel uncomfortable. By using the sound of footsteps rather than someone physically walking towards them, it removed any visual bias based on physical appearance.

After listening to the aggressive conversation the participants stopped the sound of the approaching footsteps further away from their body (on average 7 seconds away) compared to after listening to a neutral conversation (4.5 seconds away), implying that people want to distance themselves more from others immediately after hearing an ill-tempered conversation.

Co-author Dr Flavia Cardini, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University, said: "Interpersonal space is the space we maintain between ourselves and others to feel comfortable. In this study, we showed for the first time that the tone of social interactions influences the size of this space, even when we are not directly involved in the interaction.

"We found that the average size of someone's interpersonal space becomes larger after listening to an aggressive conversation taking place nearby. This is likely to be an attempt to maintain a safety zone around ourselves, and avoid any interaction or confrontation with those involved in the aggressive conversation."
-end-


Anglia Ruskin University

Related Research Articles:


Related Research Reading:

The Craft of Research, Fourth Edition (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)
by Wayne C. Booth (Author), Gregory G. Colomb (Author), Joseph M. Williams (Author), Joseph Bizup (Author), William T. FitzGerald (Author)

With more than three-quarters of a million copies sold since its first publication, The Craft of Research has helped generations of researchers at every level—from first-year undergraduates to advanced graduate students to research reporters in business and government—learn how to conduct effective and meaningful research. Conceived by seasoned researchers and educators Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, this fundamental work explains how to find and evaluate sources, anticipate and respond to reader reservations, and integrate these pieces into an... View Details


Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches
by John W. Creswell (Author), J. David Creswell (Author)

This bestselling text pioneered the comparison of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research design. For all three approaches, John W. Creswell and new co-author J. David Creswell include a preliminary consideration of philosophical assumptions; key elements of the research process; a review of the literature; an assessment of the use of theory in research applications, and reflections about the importance of writing and ethics in scholarly inquiry.

New to this Edition

Updated discussion on designing a proposal for a research project and on the steps in designing... View Details


A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, Eighth Edition: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)
by Kate L. Turabian (Author), Wayne C. Booth (Editor), Gregory G. Colomb (Editor), Joseph M. Williams (Editor), University of Chicago Press Staff (Editor)

A little more than seventy-five years ago, Kate L. Turabian drafted a set of guidelines to help students understand how to write, cite, and formally submit research writing. Seven editions and more than nine million copies later, the name Turabian has become synonymous with best practices in research writing and style. Her Manual for Writers continues to be the gold standard for generations of college and graduate students in virtually all academic disciplines. Now in its eighth edition, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations has been fully revised to... View Details


Research Strategies: Finding Your Way Through the Information Fog, 5th Edition
by William Badke (Author)

Online resources have given us access to more knowledge than ever before. We're buried in data, and defining what is and what is not genuine information becomes more of a challenge all the time. In this fifth edition of Research Strategies, author William Badke helps you make sense of all of the available information, shows you how to navigate and discern it, and details how to use it to your advantage to become a better researcher. Badke focuses on informational research and provides a host of tips and advice not only for conducting research, but also for everything from finding a topic to... View Details


Research Methodology: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners
by Ranjit Kumar (Author)

Lecturers - request an e-inspection copy of this text  or contact your local SAGE representative to discuss your course needs.

Research Methodology: A Step by Step Guide for Beginners
has been written specifically for those with no previous experience of research or research methodology. Written in a logical and accessible style and providing helpful techniques and examples, it breaks the process of designing and doing a research project into eight manageable operational steps. The book guides you through your project from... View Details


A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, Ninth Edition: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)
by Kate L. Turabian (Author), Wayne C. Booth (Editor), Gregory G. Colomb (Editor), Joseph M. Williams (Editor), Joseph Bizup (Editor), William T. FitzGerald (Editor), The University of Chicago Press Editorial Staff (Editor)

Brand New Book Paperback View Details


Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation
by Sharan B. Merriam (Author), Elizabeth J. Tisdell (Author)

The bestselling guide to qualitative research, updated and expanded

Qualitative Research is the essential guide to understanding, designing, conducting, and presenting a qualitative research study. This fourth edition features new material covering mixed methods, action research, arts-based research, online data sources, and the latest in data analysis, including data analysis software packages as well as narrative and poetic analysis strategies. A new section offers multiple ways of presenting qualitative research findings. The reader-friendly, jargon-free style makes this... View Details


Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches
by John W. Creswell (Author)

The eagerly anticipated Fourth Edition of the title that pioneered the comparison of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research design is here! For all three approaches, Creswell includes a preliminary consideration of philosophical assumptions, a review of the literature, an assessment of the use of theory in research approaches, and refl ections about the importance of writing and ethics in scholarly inquiry. He also presents the key elements of the research process, giving specifi c attention to each approach. The Fourth Edition includes... View Details


Designing and Conducting Mixed Methods Research
by John W. Creswell (Author), Vicki L. Plano Clark (Author)

Combining the latest thinking in the field with practical, step-by-step guidance, the Third Edition of John W. Creswell and Vicki L. Plano Clark’s Designing and Conducting Mixed Methods Research now covers seven mixed methods designs with accompanying journal articles illustrating each design. The authors walk readers through the entire research process, and present updated examples from published mixed methods studies drawn from multiple disciplines. In addition, this new edition includes... View Details


Research and Evaluation in Education and Psychology: Integrating Diversity With Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods
by Donna M. Mertens (Author)

Focused on increasing the credibility of research and evaluation, the Fourth Edition of Donna M. Mertens’s comprehensive Research and Evaluation in Education and Psychology: Integrating Diversity with Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods incorporates the viewpoints of various research paradigms into its descriptions of these methods. Providing specific advice on conducting research in culturally complex communities, the new edition has been updated to align with the American Psychological Association and the National Council of Accreditation of Teacher Education... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

The Person You Become
Over the course of our lives, we shed parts of our old selves, embrace new ones, and redefine who we are. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about the experiences that shape the person we become. Guests include aerobatics pilot and public speaker Janine Shepherd, writers Roxane Gay and Taiye Selasi, activist Jackson Bird, and fashion executive Kaustav Dey.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#479 Garden of Marvels (Rebroadcast)
This week we're learning about botany and the colorful science of gardening. Author Ruth Kassinger joins us to discuss her book "A Garden of Marvels: How We Discovered that Flowers Have Sex, Leaves Eat Air, and Other Secrets of the Way Plants Work." And we'll speak to NASA researcher Gioia Massa about her work to solve the technical challenges of gardening in space.