Measurements of personal space, the area immediately surrounding an individual, demonstrate its reality and its function as a bodybuffer zone in interpersonal transactions.
The idea of personal space entered behavioral science with ethologic studies of territoriality.1,2 Subsequently, anthropologists noted that human spatial use was an important variable in studying cultural patterns.3 The psychiatric literature rarely refers to space, yet it is artfully and intuitively used by psychotherapists: closeness and distance, as well as the relative position of the patient and therapist, are modulated in therapy.
Clinical observations, aided by interaction painting4 and topographic mapping of individual and group utilization of space, led to the predictions that: (1) there would be a certain reproducible distance which persons impose between themselves and objects or persons, and (2) in certain schizophrenic patients this distance would be relatively increased. To test these
HOROWITZ MJ, DUFF DF, STRATTON LO. Body-Buffer Zone: Exploration of Personal Space. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;11(6):651–656. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720300081010
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