Mapping Social Interactions: The Science of Proxemics

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Title of host publicationCurrent Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
DatePublished - 5 Jan 2017
Pages295-308
PublisherSpringer
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Interpersonal distance and gaze provide a wealth of information during face-to-face social interactions. These "proxemic" behaviors offer a window into everyday social cognition by revealing interactants' affective states (e.g., interpersonal attitudes) and cognitive responses (e.g., social attention). Here we provide a brief overview of the social psychological literature in this domain. We focus on new techniques for experimentally manipulating and measuring proxemics, including the use of immersive virtual environments and digital motion capture. We also discuss ways in which these approaches can be integrated with psychophysiological and neuroimaging techniques. Throughout, we argue that contemporary proxemics research provides psychology and neuroscience with a means to study social cognition and behavior as they naturally emerge and unfold in vivo.

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