Lecture 11

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COM 340. 2. The study of humankind's

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Lecture 11

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1. COM 340 Lecture 11 Nonverbal Communication: Proxemics and Use of Space

2. COM 340 2 The study of humankind’s “perception and use of space.” (Edward T. Hall) All human beings learn hundreds of rules and cues about space as they grow up based on their culture. Most people don’t think about space as being culturally patterned. Foreign spatial rules are often misinterpreted and can lead to bad feelings. Since people exist in space and time, it is difficult to stand back and objectively view them as means of communication. If a foreigner appears aggressive and pushy, or remote and cold, it may only mean that his personal distances are different from one’s own.Since people exist in space and time, it is difficult to stand back and objectively view them as means of communication. If a foreigner appears aggressive and pushy, or remote and cold, it may only mean that his personal distances are different from one’s own.

3. COM 340 3 Every living thing has a physical boundary. And, every living thing is surrounded by a series of invisible boundaries. The invisible boundaries start at the edge of the physical boundary and progress outward. More difficult to see than the physical boundary because they are invisible, but are just as real.

4. COM 340 4 Each person’s invisible bubble of space expands and contracts. Size depends on… their relationship to those around them their emotional state their cultural background, and the activity they are performing. In northern Europe (Germany and Scandinavia (cool climate)): people’s bubbles are quite large. As one moves south (France, Italy, Greece and Spain (warm climate)), the bubbles get smaller and smaller. Few people are allowed to penetrate this bubble, and if so, only for a short period of time. If our bubble is entered, we begin to feel uncomfortable or aggressive. Few people are allowed to penetrate this bubble, and if so, only for a short period of time. If our bubble is entered, we begin to feel uncomfortable or aggressive.

5. COM 340 5 Contact Cultures More immediacy People stand close together A lot of physical contact when communicating Generally located in warm climates Non-contact Cultures Less immediacy People tend to stand apart Touch less or not at all when communicating Generally located in cool climates

6. COM 340 6 Contact groups… Arabs: Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Republic Latin Americans: Bolivia, Cuba, Equador, El Salvador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Venezuela Southern Europeans: France, Italy, Turkey

7. COM 340 7 Non Contact Groups… East Asians: China, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Thailand South Asians: India and Pakistan Northern Europeans: Austria, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Scotland North Americans: United States, Canada

8. COM 340 8 Edward T. Hall, in his book The Silent Language wrote that white middle-class Americans use four different interaction zones. Distances people try to keep between themselves and others at different occasions. Four Zones of Interaction 1st Zone: Intimate Distance 2nd Zone: Personal Distance 3rd Zone: Social Distance 4th Zone: Public Distance

9. COM 340 9 1st Zone: Intimate Distance From physical contact (touching) to about 18 inches (45 cm) Adults usually do not use this zone unless they are in a crowded elevator, bus, or similar situation. 2nd Zone: Personal Distance From 18 inches to 4 feet (45 cm to 120 cm) This distance is used at parties when two or three people are talking together. If they want to talk about something more personal they will move closer together.

10. COM 340 10 3rd Zone: Social Distance From 4 feet to 12 feet (120 cm to 4 m) This distance is often used for doing business, and for talking with strangers. 4th Zone: Public Distance From 12 feet to the limit of our voice and hearing (4 m to … ) This distance is rarely used by most people. Generally only used by people such as teachers, ministers, politicians, public speakers, etc

11. COM 340 11 Different cultures set distinctive norms for closeness (for example in speaking, business, and courting), and that standing too close or too far away can lead to mis-understandings and even to culture shock. Not knowing the correct distances for particular kinds of communication can result in partial or complete communication failure. Although the use of space is learned by the members of a culture, it can become an important part of any communication situation. Try a simple experiment. *Go shopping at a department store *Ask a salesperson where the location of the furniture corner is. *Go next to the person until you are only two feet (60 cm) away before you ask the question. *90% of the time the salesperson will quickly back away from you. Why? Because you have used the intimate distance to communicate when you should have used the social distance. Although the use of space is learned by the members of a culture, it can become an important part of any communication situation. Try a simple experiment. *Go shopping at a department store *Ask a salesperson where the location of the furniture corner is. *Go next to the person until you are only two feet (60 cm) away before you ask the question. *90% of the time the salesperson will quickly back away from you. Why? Because you have used the intimate distance to communicate when you should have used the social distance.

12. COM 340 12 “Men reacted more to the person standing immediately behind them than did women.” (i.e. just one step behind, with the hands reaching forward on the rail so as to be visible to the person ahead) (Vrugt and Kerkstra,1984:9) “Women seem to prefer to act as if they do not notice anything, so that unwanted contact can be avoided. Men make it clear in their reactions that they do not appreciate such a rapprochement.” (Vrugt and Kerkstra 1984:10)

13. COM 340 13 “A study of more than 400 drivers at an Atlanta-area mall parking lot found that motorists defend their spots instinctively” (AP, May 13, 1997; from research published in the Jour of App Soc Psych, May 1997). “It’s not your paranoid imagination after all: People exiting parking spaces really do leave more slowly when you’re waiting for the spot…. It’s called territorial behavior ….” (AP, May 13, 1997).

14. COM 340 14 Regardless of an “invader’s” sex, men already seated at an otherwise unoccupied table view opposites most negatively, while already seated women view adjacents most negatively (Fisher and Byrne, 1975).

15. COM 340 15 1. Europeans: A designer should be very careful not to waste space it will be looked down upon. It should be noted that they don’t perceive needing as much personal space as we do. 2. French: Put a lot of emphasis on outside and public spaces. They entertain in public spaces and very seldom in their homes.

16. COM 340 16 3. Arabs: Arabs need three important things in their spaces: unobstructed space, high ceilings out of normal line of vision, and an unobstructed view. 4. Orientals: Focus on the center of the room; this is where they emphasize functional space. Non-permanent walls and divisions are also an integral part.

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