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Book Chapter

Mapping social interactions: The science of proxemics


McCall,  Cade
Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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McCall, C. (2017). Mapping social interactions: The science of proxemics. In M. Wöhr, & S. Krach (Eds.), Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences - Social Behavior from Rodents to Humans: Neural Foundations and Clinical Implications (pp. 295-308). Berlin: Springer. doi:10.1007/7854_2015_431.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0029-C72C-A
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.