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OW Series: Day 6 – Proxemics Issues During lockdown

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In social psychology, ‘proxemics’ is the study of the distance that separates us from others according to our culture and degree of affinity.

I accept my partner entering my personal space (less than 40cm) but when I give a lecture I need at least 3.70m (the measure of social distance) to be respected. During lockdown, it is very likely that living in close quarters with others violates traditional proxemics. Indeed, even our relatives can seem oppressive if we don’t have enough personal space from time to time—and this can generate strong feelings of aggression.

To remedy this, I invite you to isolate yourself in an area of the house for an hour or two, ensuring no one is closer than 1.20m (the measure of personal distance). This short break will lower your stress and your level of aggressivity.

We may be advanced animals, but nevertheless we have maintained our territorial behaviours. It is sometimes essential to move away so that later on we can become closer. As the poet Robert Frost said, “Good fences make good neighbours.”

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By Adrien Chignard

Adrien Chignard, Occupational Psychologist, Sens & Coherence











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