The focus of this website is to illustrate how culture influences an individual’s perception and use of proxemics, or spatial behavior.
What is proxemics?
Proxemics is a fascinating phenomenon in which people engage themselves on a daily basis. Many people may not have heard the term ‘proxemics’ and are surprised to learn that it plays a significant role in our daily communication process. The term proxemics refers to “the study of the way the people use physical space to convey messages” (Luthans & Doe, 2009, p. 201). It is the space individuals keep between themselves and another when they interact in various situations. It is generally a subconscious type of behavior that a person uses to determine the distance that should exist between oneself and the person with whom he or she is interacting.
A great deal of research on this topic has come from the work of anthropologist Edward T. Hall. Hall was a pioneer in this field, as he closely studied how people and animals use proxemics. Hall and other anthropologists view the use of such spatial behaviors as being largely innate or predetermined (Hall 1968; Baldassare and Feller 1975). More specifically, Hall also considered the influence of one’s culture on how a person uses proxemics.
Proxemics is particularly interesting because it is something that people engage in on a daily basis, but may be completely unaware of.
What is the significance of proxemics?
So, what is the significance of proxemics?
Why does it matter?
There are several reasons why it is important to understand proxemics. Some of these may include the following:
Above: two strangers maintain their distance from one another, demonstrating the use of proxemics
· It has a significant impact on the communication process
· It influences people's perceptions of others
· It provides non-verbal cues that influence how people interpret a message
For further information, and to learn about the different kinds of physical space that make up proxemics, please see the following link, or go to the top of this page and choose from any of the available pages.
Types of proxemics
Everyone has a preference as to how much personal space is preferred by certain people in certain situations. There are many factors that strongly influence people’s interpretations and preferences of personal space. One of the most significant is culture. For more information, please visit the following link.
Proxemics and culture