Psychology Wiki

Assessment | Biopsychology | Comparative | Cognitive | Developmental | Language | Individual differences | Personality | Philosophy | Social |
Methods | Statistics | Clinical | Educational | Industrial | Professional items | World psychology |

Social psychology: Altruism · Attribution · Attitudes · Conformity · Discrimination · Groups · Interpersonal relations · Obedience · Prejudice · Norms · Perception · Index · Outline

Bus shelter with seats with armrests, designed to deter proximity, as well as sleeping.

The term proxemics was introduced by anthropologist Edward T. Hall in 1963 to describe the measureable distances between people as they interacted.

Hall pointed out that social distance between people is reliably correlated with physical distance, and described four distances:

  • intimate distance for embracing, touching or whispering (15-45 cm, 6-18 inches)
  • personal distance for interactions among good friends (45-120 cm, 1.5-4 feet)
  • social distance for interactions among acquaintances (1.2-3.5 m, 4-12 ft)
  • public distance used for public speaking (over 3.5 m, 12 ft)

Hall pointed out that different cultures maintain different standards of personal space. In Latin cultures, for instance, those relative distances are smaller, and people tend to be more comfortable standing close to each other; in Nordic cultures the opposite is true. Realizing and recognizing these cultural differences improves cross-cultural understanding, and helps eliminate discomfort people may feel if the interpersonal distance is too large ("standoffish") or too small (intrusive).

Comfortable personal distances also depend on the social situation, gender, and individual preference.

A related term is propinquity. Propinquity is one of the factors, set out by Jeremy Bentham, used to measure the amount of pleasure in a method known as felicific calculus.


Under traditional schools of sharia or Islamic law close proximity, called Khalwat, is forbidden between a man and a woman who are not married and not mahram. Even just being together in a house, a room, or a secluded place may be forbidden.

Islamic Penal Code of Iran

According to Islamic penal code of Iran; in case two men or two women are found naked under one blanket, when there has been no necessity for doing so, they will be sentenced to be whipped less than 99 lashes (only being naked is enough and the judge decides on the number of lashes).

See also

External links

fr:Proxémie es:Proxémica

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).