Personal Space, Crowding, and Spatial Behavior in a Cultural Context

  • John R. Aiello
  • Donna E. Thompson
Part of the Human Behavior and Environment book series (HUBE, volume 4)


Research interest in the topics of personal space, crowding, and spatial behavior has increased exponentially over the past fifteen years. This growing literature has indicated that the two primary functions served by the use of space are regulation or control and communication. One of the first systematic treatments of this domain was E. T. Hall’s The Hidden Dimension. In his book, Hall (1966) proposed that individuals from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds differ with regard to their spatial behavior, and suggested that these differences were reflective of different cultural norms governing the use of space within different societies. During the last decade, Hall’s ideas have stimulated a considerable amount of research and writing on the description and comparison of differences in the structuring and use of space. Unfortunately, only a small proportion of this research has examined spatial behavior within a cultural context. Nevertheless, this growing body of research has generally been rather supportive of Hall’s qualitative observations.


White Child Spatial Behavior Personal Space Interaction Distance Interpersonal Distance 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • John R. Aiello
    • 1
  • Donna E. Thompson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRutgers-The State UniversityNew BrunswickUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, George Peabody CollegeVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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