Study defines personal space
Now there is a scientific definition of “personal space.” Researchers from University College, London have defined it as a space 8 to 16 inches from a person’s face. The fact that the need for personal space varies from person to person is common knowledge, but this study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, is the first to create a numerical definition of it.
Researchers from England’s University College London recorded the study subjects’ blink reflexes at varying distances from their faces. They chose to study blink reflexes because they are defensive responses to potentially dangerous stimuli, according to researchers Chiara Sambo and Giandomenico lannetti.
After studying blink reflexes, the researchers compared the results with results from anxiety questionnaires. They found that the people who scored high on the anxiety text tended to react more strongly to stimuli eight inches from their face than those who got low scores.
The study supports previous research that found that people with anxiety traits need more personal space than those without anxiety traits.
Researchers say they believe their new findings could be useful for seeing how good people are at determining risks in certain jobs, particularly those which present dangerous or threatening situations.