Today I planed a day trip to different places in London observing how people behave in public area. I understand that if the public space is big enough to let people choose where they participate themselves into the environment, they would keep the distance between the strangers as much as they can. This action just like there is an invisible wall divided them.
After the research, I obtained a theory. The reason why people will keep the distances between strangers is based on the insecure environmental factor, they do not know each other and what is the background of this stranger. People protect themselves when they expose in a ‘unknown’ area with unknown people.
Then, I was thinking if the person feels offensive by the fact that someone enter their ‘personal space’, is this psychological state established based on a passive action by stranger. If so, in the other words if the stranger did not enter the ‘personal space’ claimed by the subject, is that mean this psychological state of being offensive will not be established. I then interested in the psychological state changes when the subject being alone in their ‘personal space’. How would that influence their actions, appearance, emotions and psychological quality.
Next week, I will be visiting Ladbroke Grove, I will be observing how people behave when they are alone.
Personal space – is the region surrounding a person which they regard as psychologically theirs. Most people value their personal space and feel discomfort, anger or even anxiety when their personal space is encroached.
Proxemics – is the study of human use of space and the effects that population density has an behaviour, communication and social interaction.
According to Hall (1963), the distance around each of us can be divided into 4 zones. The one closest to ourselves is the ‘intimate’ space, and only goes to about 18 inches away from our face. Next out from this central zone is what is technically called the
‘personal’ space, which covers about another 2-1/feet to reach a distance of 4 feet away from the tip of the nose. Next is a pretty large zone called the ‘social’ space, which goes from 4 to as many as 12 feet away from you. After that, it is public space all the way. However, cultures differ in what they regard as appropriate boundaries of personal space.
Image 1: WebHamster (2009) Personal Space
Edward T. Hall, the cultural anthropologist who coined the term ‘Proxemics’ in 1963, defined it as ‘the interrelated observation and theories of humans use of space as a specialized elaboration of culture.’ In his foundational work on proxemics, The hidden Dimension, he emphasize the impact of proxemics behavior on interpersonal communication. Refer to Hall, the study of proxemics is valuable in evaluating not only the way people interact with others in daily life, but also ‘the organisation of space in houses and buildings, and ultimately the layout of their towns.’ It remain a hidden component of interpersonal communication that is uncovered through observation and strongly influenced by culture.
I got in to my first choice which is Territories and Boundaries!! Before todays’ unit briefing I thought the unit will be focusing on political issues and urban planning. However, I found out that it means far more than that.
Normally when people heard the term ‘Territories and Boundaries’ they will immediately think of gates, border line etc. but it can also mean as the invisible block hidden in street, such as where can be enter and where can not. This leads me to an idea of personal space.
In my opinions, psychologically personal space means the invisible ‘owned’ area in a certain area around the person, it is flexible depends on the size of the environment. For example, When the stranger come really close to you on the street, you will consciously keep the distance with him immediately and perhaps feel offensive as well.
For further development, I will define the term – personal space in psychological way and observe how people behave in public area.