September 26, 2021

The Space Between Us

How close could a stranger come to you before you start feeling uncomfortable? Usually, people start feeling uneasy when unfamiliar people come within an arm’s reach. This distance we try to maintain between ourselves and others is a comfort zone surrounding our bodies, called “personal space”. Everyone knows where the boundaries of their personal space are even though they may not consciously dictate them.

Of course personal space can be modified for example in a number of relationships including family members and romantic partners, but on a busy tube or bus you can find complete strangers encroaching in this space. We investigate how listening to music with positive or negative valence may affect the size of people’s personal space. Music listening has often been used in research into emotion to elicit different emotional states.

Related Publications

Tajadura-Jiménez A, Pantelidou G, Rebacz P, Västfjäll D, Tsakiris M. (2011). I-space: the effects of emotional valence and source of music on interpersonal distance. PLoS One. 6(10):e26083