{January 31, 2008}   Personal space and territory

Proxemics is the idea of space which we deem as suitable or appropriate when we are around people. This ‘appropriate distance’ can vary across different cultures, and situations. For example, we have a different idea of what appropriate distance is between friends, family and aquaintaces or strangers. We are comfortable with a level of intimacy and proximity with the people whom we know, and we become uncomfortable when a stranger invades that personal space. The amount of personal space two females need when communicating is usually lesser than the amount of personal space two men need when communicating with each other.
In some cultures, proximity is seen as an acceptable social norm and in others, it is seen as a invasion of personal space. The average distance of personal space varies from culture to culture.
Here are some examples:
In American culture, personal space affects EVERYTHING — even bathroom behavior among strangers.
It is unacceptable to stand use a urinal between two other people. It is always a MUST to leave a urinal between users. Americans tend to require more personal space than in other cultures.
Personal Space in Several Cultures

Latin American, Arab, French, American, German, Japanese
SMALL                                                                                           LARGE
SPACE                                                                                            SPACE

Territorial is another behaviour displayed by people and animals.
We define ‘our space’ by choosing a seat when we attend a meeting, talk, dinner or lectures and then we reserve it by placing our things such as bags, coat or any other personal belonging. When the layout of the room is similar to that of the previous room we sat in, we are more likely to choose the same seat we sat on in the previous room. This shows our animal behaviour with relation to the concept of territoriality.

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