Psychology of Interpersonal Relationships: Proximity

in steemiteducation •  last month 

Ace Aeterna Presents:

An Introductory Survey of the Psychology of Interpersonal Relationships


Follow an ongoing instruction series on the topic of interpersonal relationship psychology.

Proximity

Proximity

In areas of belongingness and affiliation, and attachment theory there is a factor that is ubiquitous and influential: proximity. Proximity is the space between two people, either when they are in their homes, or when they are interacting in a familiar setting, such as a school. Proximity is the strongest indicator for whether people will become friends (Dwyer, 2013). Without proximity, there would be no chance for affiliation and belongingness, and even less chance of attachment.

Proximity is a factor in interpersonal attraction. As we will see below, several studies have supported different aspects of proximity and how, as a psychological concept, it has a breadth of effects. An effect of proximity is functional distance, or the likelihood of two people to come into contact. If there is low proximity, there is low functional distance, and vice versa.

Close Proximity and Friendships

In a study investigating the formation of friendships in different settings Festinger et al. (1950) found that adults and married couples were more likely to make friends that were proximal, meaning on the same floor within the same building. Adults were less likely to make friendships between buildings in the apartment complex. Further, although there were relationships established between residents on different floors of the same building, the numbers shy in comparison to those living on the same floor. These people were 10 times more likely to create friendships on their same floor. In fact, Rubin & Shenker (1978) found, interestingly, that friendship is a stronger predictor of intimate disclosure, whereas proximity is a strong predictor of superficial disclosure.

Allgeier and Byrne (1972) hypothesized that both males and females place themselves in closer proximity to a liked than a disliked member of the opposite sex. Additionally, there was an inverse relationship with negative affect to physical proximity. (Newcomb, 1956) found that people are most likely to be attracted to the proximal, even holding other variables constant.

There are questions of the internet use and how this may be affected by proximity. Lenhart and Madden (2007) have suggested that most online contacts are still social and social networks are used to embolden and strengthen existing relationships, and less commonly used to establish them. Additionally, the only exception to the posit that frequency of contact is highly correlated with proximity is email (Mok & Wellman, 2007)

Questions of Globalization and Technological Advance

So the question is begged: is the concept of proximity in interpersonal relationships evolving as we become an increasingly globalized world? What of individuals that have relationships outside of near proximity. Can these concepts be applied in terms of blockchain? And do sites like steemit have a unique advantage where proximity is digitized and the cohort nature of the platform lends itself to creating lasting and strong relationships?

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