Goseeko blog

What is Proxemics?

by Team Goseeko

Our interaction with the people around us has rather a well- defined or well- understood spatial dimensions.”

Many a times, it gives a feeling of uneasiness, when a person talking to  is either too close or too far. In order to express many non-verbal messages, including the sign of nearness, aggressive behaviour, natural impulse, all these require physical space for expressing them.

Proxemics thus, help in our study to understand in what way people use the physical space and surroundings they have around. “Proxemics” is derived from the word ‘proximity’ which means closeness or nearness. The word was used by a well known author of body language and communication, Edward Twitchell Hall during 1950.

Definition of Proxemics

Proxemics refers to the study of how space is used to communicate message. The term is also used to explain human behaviour which divides the personal space  into various areas in this context. It is the amount of space where a person feels comfortable between themselves and others.

Space Zones (Distances) in Proxemics.

Edward.T.Hall has given four kinds of space language, depending on the distance:

  1. Intimate Space Language– Here the speaker and the listener are within the circle of about 18 inches/5-45 cm distance. This is usually observed  amongst family members and those who share a close relationship. Such intimacy like, whispering, hugging or touching are included.
  2. Personal Space Language-  In this the speaker and listener are in the, space of about 18 inches to 4 feet. Usually, in this space, normal conversation takes place.
  3. Social Space Language-  In this formal and business relationship are viewed, where only hand shake is possible, provided the two person are ready and initiate to do it. Here, the circle extends from 4 feet to about 12 feet.
  4. Public Space Language-  Such kind of space is used when a person wants to avoid interaction with the unknown person. Here the speaker speaks loudly to a large gathering  so that the audience can be heard clearly. It extends from 12 feet to the range of eyesight.

So, the sudden entrance into personal apace-zone , eventually creates discomfort, emotional disturbances and also violent outburst. In a nutshell, proxemics is related to basic characteristics of a person’s interaction and the way the different space Zones i.e. intimate, personal, public and social are utilized.

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