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Observational Measurement: Proxemics and Touch

Proxemics refers to the study of communicative features of space, such as how physical distance is maintained and altered in human interaction. Human use of personal space and territory is vital for balancing affiliation and privacy and communicating domination and submission. Tactile communication is vital for human physiological growth and functioning, mental and emotional adjustment, and communicating emotional and relational messages. In their work to understand, describe, and predict proxemic and tactile interactions, researchers utilize observational measurement, which refers to watching, recording, categorizing, and rating interactants’ use of physical space or touch behavior, or both.

When deciding to observe proxemic or touch behavior, the researcher must make important decisions about whether to study one or multiple interactants, social or personal relationships, behavior occurring in controlled or ...

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