Most people have an instinctive protection zone, you can also call it a personal space, it wraps our body, and then gives us a sense of psychological security and comfort. For example, when we see a person who makes us feel disgusted approaching (no matter from which direction), we will have a bad feeling, and as he gets closer and closer, this feeling becomes stronger; or when When someone we don’t know is extremely close to us, we will be alert, nervous, etc.
In contrast, we welcome people we like very much. Generally speaking, personal space is related to the intimacy of the relationship: for people close to us, personal space will be reduced to 1 to 46 cm; for friends or family members who have a good relationship with us, personal space will be expanded to 46 to 122 Cm; and if he or she is only an acquaintance with us, the distance will continue to expand, and between 1.2 and 3.7 meters; finally, we tend to keep a distance of more than 3.7 meters with strangers.
In addition to intimacy, personal space will vary from person to person. People who have just been praised, confident, or in a position of authority tend to have smaller instinct reserves. In contrast, if a person feels anxious, then his personal space will increase. This is why in daily life, sincere compliments, and sometimes just flattery, will bring the distance between two strangers closer.
Personal space also varies due to pressure. At meetings or gatherings, leaders are relaxed and can communicate with others at close range. On the contrary, the pressure of safety outdoors will cause a certain anxiety to the leader, so in this case, the leader, in addition to the bodyguard, often keeps a certain distance from other people.
Of course, sometimes personal space has to allow others to enter due to environmental reasons. Such as public places such as scenic spots, movie theaters, and railway stations during holidays, but in such an environment, people always feel nervous mentally. An experiment in the United States proved this.
The research was conducted in a male public toilet at a university in the United States. There are three urinals in the toilet. Volunteers will encounter the following 3 situations after entering the toilet: Only the volunteer urinates in the innermost urinal; there is a person next to the urinal; or there is no one next to the urinal. There are people in the urinal outside.
The results of the experiment showed that when the volunteers were alone, the average time to urinate was 4.8 seconds; when there were people nearby, the average time to urinate was 6.2 seconds; when there were people on the outermost side, they were able to urinate. The time increased to 8.4 seconds.
As the stranger gets closer, the longer the volunteer can pass urine. Therefore, the researchers speculated that this was because the volunteers’ personal space was invaded, and feelings of vigilance and tension would inhibit the relaxation of our external sphincter, thereby prolonging the time to pass urine.
This study also explains why conflicts are more likely to break out in crowded situations.
In fact, personal space is an instinct of animals.
No matter what animal, it will always keep a certain distance from potentially dangerous animals, which is conducive to its own safety, survival and reproduction. Humans naturally have this instinct.
This instinct originates from two organs called the amygdala deep in our brain. In a scientific experiment conducted in 2009, researchers invited a female patient who suffered severe damage to both amygdala for a personal space test. The results of the study showed that even if a stranger had already put it on her face, she still followed The researchers said that she felt very comfortable.
Finally, let us summarize a little bit. Normally, each of us has our own personal space. This is an instinct, even for the closest people. Therefore, we must respect the personal space of others in various occasions to avoid unnecessary trouble.