Specifically, according to Edward T. Hall, who has pioneered the study of spatial communication. Proxemics refers to the use of space in communication: "the study of how man unconsciously structures microspace-the distance between men in conduct of daily transaction, the organization of space in his houses and buildings, and ultimately the layout of his towns."
According to Hall, the way space is used in interaction is very much a cultural matter. In different cultures various senses assume importance. For example, as in United States, sight and hearing predominate; in other cultures, such as Arab states, smell is also important. In any cases, a necessary relation is present between the use of senses in interaction and interpersonal distances. Proxemics relations vary too because the definitions of the self are different, for these reasons, the people of a particular culture arrange their space in certain ways.
Hall has identified eight distances that may be indicative of certain types of messages. They included: (1) Very close (3 inches to 6 inches) - soft whisper, top secret, or intimate information. (2) Close (8 to 12 inches) - audible whisper, very confidential information. (3) Near (12 to 20 inches) - soft voice, confidential.
(4) Neutral (20 to 36 inches) - soft voice, personal information. (5) Neutral (4.5 feet to 5 feet) - full voice, non-personal. (6) Public distance (5.5 feet to 6 feet) - full voice.
(7) and (8) stretching the limits of a distance (up to 100 feet) are hailing and departure distances. *1
The intimate distance (under 12 inches) in American culture is used by lovers, husband and wife, children or other members of the family, and very close friends. Generally, they do not want to their intimate space boundaries violated by those with whom they do not have intimate relationships.
The personal zone (1.5 to 3 feet) is a normal and acceptable distance for conversation at a party, for...