2009 volume 38(4) pages 617 – 620
doi:10.1068/p6317

Cite as:
Lloyd D M, Coates A, Knopp J, Oram S, Rowbotham S, 2009, "Don’t stand so close to me: The effect of auditory input on interpersonal space" Perception 38(4) 617 – 620

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Last but not least
Don’t stand so close to me: The effect of auditory input on interpersonal space

Donna M Lloyd, Anna Coates, Jasmin Knopp, Sarah Oram, Samantha Rowbotham

Abstract. We provide preliminary evidence that listening to music through headphones alters the perception of space around the body—specifically, the interpersonal distance maintained between the self and others. In comparison to an external auditory environment, wearing headphones or earplugs increased the amount of space maintained between the wearer and another person during an active approach paradigm. This finding suggests that, when external cues to spatial location (such as sound) are removed, people compensate by increasing the distance between themselves and others. The implications of this research for navigating busy urban environments and for the social interactions of wearers of personal music systems are discussed.

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