Help Privacy Policy Disclaimer
  Advanced SearchBrowse





Proxemic imaging of nonverbal behavior during social interactions: Facing off with unfair others


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

External Resource
No external resources are shared
Fulltext (restricted access)
There are currently no full texts shared for your IP range.
Fulltext (public)
There are no public fulltexts stored in PuRe
Supplementary Material (public)
There is no public supplementary material available

McCall, C. (2014). Proxemic imaging of nonverbal behavior during social interactions: Facing off with unfair others. Talk presented at Perspectives and Future Directions in Social Neuroscience Symposium. Marburg, Germany. 2014-06-04 - 2014-06-06.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-349C-5
Introduction: Nonverbal behavior reveals a wealth of information during face-to-face social interactions. Implicit physical approach and avoidance have been associated with prejudice, empathy, aggression, and social support1. However, assessing “proxemic” responses is a methodological challenge. Here we present a new measure, proxemic imaging, that captures subtle patterns in behavior during a dyadic interaction. Using digital tracking data, it combines distance and gaze patterns to create frequency images of interpersonal space. To demonstrate its efficacy, we used proxemic imaging to examine social responses to fair versus unfair others. Fairness violations elicit both avoidance-related responses such as negative attitudes2, as well as approach-related responses such as anger and retaliation3. We used proxemic imaging to test how these responses implicitly emerge in nonverbal behavior. Methods: Participants first played an economic game with fair and unfair players4 and then encountered them in an unrelated task in a virtual environment. During the latter task, we tracked movement and gaze. Afterwards, participants could monetarily punish each player. Results: Using the tracking data, we created proxemic images of each players’ egocentric space and of their combined gaze behavior (Figure 1). We then contrasted the fair with the unfair interactions (Figure 2). These contrasts reveal that participants kept the fair player closer. However, participants who punished unfair players were more likely to stand in front and turn their backs on them. This latter pattern was not detected by traditional methods (i.e., minimum distance). Conclusions: Proxemic imaging captured an implicit tendency to come closer to fair versus unfair players. Moreover, it uniquely detected subtle approach-related patterns toward unfair players that predicted differences in overt punishment behavior. Together these effects demonstrate the power and nuance of the method.