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21st Century Hall: Proxemics and Gender Interactions in Contemporary Research
AuthorPayne, Lauren E.
AdvisorSeibert Kiser, Saralinda
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Nonverbal communication is an everyday occurrence that is unavoidable; such behavior becomes second nature. How we stand, sit, move, gaze and gesture are just a few examples of how messages are sent without uttering a single word. A specific form of nonverbal communication is proxemics – the human use of space. Edward T. Hall (1966) coined this term during the early 1950s, and designed a guideline in his first book for the four zones of space: public space, social space, personal space, and intimate space. Like many other phenomena, gender plays a key role in the functioning of proxemics. The following will take a look at how current research utilizes Hall?s proxemic zones to examine the sex differences in proxemic behaviors. Understanding these types of interactions can benefit the development of effective communication between genders and increase self-awareness of individual communication styles. In addition, understanding how space is used when gender is a factor can help individuals initiate and maintain interpersonal relationships.