In Certain Circles, Two Is a Crowd

Published: November 16, 2006.

via NY Times

The article talks about proxemics in general in America and labeling a few situations where personal space comes into play.
Below are interesting quotes to note related to why, how and what causes the behaviour.

“While people may crave space, they rarely realize how entrenched proxemics are. Scholars can predict which areas of an elevator are likely to fill up first and which urinal a man will choose. They know people will stare at the lighted floor numbers in elevators, not one another.

“In order to overcome the intimacy, you have to make sure you don’t make eye contact,” said Dane Archer, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who studies proxemics.

“But personal space is not merely a numbers game. Preferences differ from culture to culture. Scholars have found that Americans, conquerors of the wild frontier, generally prefer more personal space than people in Mediterranean and Latin American cultures, and more than men in Arab countries.”

“Being crowded in a dance club or running the New York City Marathon is far different from being packed into a train car during rush hour or stuck on a freeway (yes, proxemics has been linked to road rage).”

“And when people want to avoid someone who is less than enjoyable, they employ a variety of tactics. Some scholars say this goes a long way toward explaining the iPod craze, which turns city streets and commuter trains into islands of individuality.”


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