Reviewing Research and Making Connections

Reviewing Research and Making Connections

Sociology 100


The topic of this research was regarding personal space around the world. Researchers looked at 9,000 people in 42 countries to understand how people are effected by personal space. In gathering this information people were combined into “contact cultures” and ‘non –contact cultures”. Between these two groups they were asked: “Imagine you’re person A. How close should person B stand to you? Does that change if the person is a close friend? A colleague”.


To better understand the difference between these two groups the researches explained that “contact cultures” were South-America, the Middle East, and Southern Europe. While the “non-contact cultures” were Northern Europe, North America, and Asia. In the non-contact cultures they noticed that people stand farther apart and touch less. When the asked people from various regions of the world questions about personal space they were given a graph showing two figures, they were then asked the question: “Imagine you’re person A. How close should person B stand to you? Does that change if the person is a close friend? A colleague”. After they conducted the surveys, they averaged the results for each of the three categories.


What the research found was that people in Argentina and other South American countries do, in general, require less personal space than people from Asia. In Romania strangers are supposed to keep their distance, but friends could be very close. Saudi Arabians tend to stand farther from their friends than Argentinians do with strangers. Hungarian loved ones and strangers are to be at arm’s length or at least 75 centimeters away. Sociologists have a theory that temperature tends to affect how people define personal space as do gender and age. The conclusion is that cultures share some commonalities. Women prefer more personal space from strangers than men in almost all of the countries studied. People who live in warmer places tend to keep less distance than those in colder climates. And the older you are, the farther away you stand.


I would like to know if there is a difference in how the men and women of these cultures interact with one another. For instance in Muslim cultures when a man and woman inter the Mosque they do not enter together, nor do they worship together. I choose this question because as we get closer to the holidays my family starts to prepare for Kwanzaa and I think about the traditions that different family hold.

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