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Perception. 2009;38(4):617-20.

Don't stand so close to me: the effect of auditory input on interpersonal space.

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School of Psychological Sciences, Zochonis Building, University of Manchester, Brunswick Street, Manchester M13 9PL, UK.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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