Tuesday, March 25, 2014
How do the concepts of personal space and territoriality differ across cultures? How is human territoriality different from that of nonhuman species?
Personal space and territoriality vary across cultures because different cultures value these concepts differently. Certain cultures expect an invasion of personal space, while other cultures resist an invasion of personal space and display certain behaviors to demonstrate that. Personal space is the area surrounding an individual's body where other individuals may not enter. Territoriality refers to the behavior displayed by species to show possessions of a certain area. As for personal space, certain cultures would rather interact with other individuals more closely, while other cultures prefer to keep a certain amount of distance between them and another individual. Therefore, as for territoriality, certain cultures will display certain behaviors when another individual invades their personal space. For instance, individuals who are Arab require less personal space than Americans, and tend to move closer together when confronting each other, maintain constant eye contact, and are more apt to touch each other (Evans & Howard, 1973).
Human territoriality differs from that of nonhuman species because human territoriality culturally occurs while nonhuman species territoriality occurs naturally.
Evans, G. W., & Howard, R. B. (1973). Personal space. Psychological Bulletin, 80(4), 334-344. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0034946