Difference in Proxemics between Males and Females.

“Difference in Proxemics between Males and Females”

Kansas Bayly         


            The study I chose was ‘Proxemics and Gender: Where’s the Spatial Gap?’ where a study was done on 508 people in a hospital to examine gender effects on distance and approach between males and females. Based on previous studies females’ space would be violated more often than males’. The hypotheses for this study were broken into two parts, H1: “More male and female participants will approach a female assistant when given choice between a female and male assistance.” And H2: “More male and female participants will approach a female assistant at a closer distance than a male assistant” (Madden, 1999.) To get the information needed they had two males and two females hand out surveys, in which they were similarity clothed and standing equal distance apart and equal distance from the entrance of the door. They were to hand out surveys with no interaction, facial expression, or verbal expressions. 343 females and 163 males were free to choose which assistant to approach. The results showed that majority of the participants approached the male assistants contradictory to what was expected in the hypotheses. Majority of women in the study show preference to the male assistant while males showed no preference to a female or male assistants. Approximately 206 women approached male assistants compared to the 137, and 77 males approached females and 86 males approached male assistants (Madden, 1999). The distance at which these participants approached the assistants was very surprising. Females approached males much closer then females, and would stand in line to receive surveys 12 times over, even when the female assistant wasn’t occupied. 96 females stood within 6 inches of the males’ assistants, 71 females stood within 12 inches of the male assistants, and when approaching a female, females would stand 18+inches from the assistants. This study was important because the results do not support the original hypothesis that females are approached more often then males.


            According to my readings and handouts the results of this study contradicts that females are approached more closely then males (Burgoon, Guerrero, Floyd, 2010, p. 275). Personal space changes among culture and gender, a lot of factors contribute to changes in distance in proxemics. In this study, it says that males are approached more often then females no matter the sex, but studies before have been said to say the opposite. Though this study shows that males are approached more often others will argue that females are approached more often in their personal space; either of these studies could be accurate because the proxemics in forever changing over time. And studies can only say so much because you don’t know the cultural background of these participants. Countries like Puerto Rico averaged 180 touches per hour but people in the United State rarely touched; depending on where these participants are from can affect the research outcomes (Burgoon, Guerrero, Floyd, 2010. p. 50). It is important to consider the person’s age, gender, culture, and environment as well, because everything can affect the results of these studies. Even though this particular study did not find a link between gender and proxemics, it is invaluable information that can help us better understand nonverbal communication between males and females.


Burgoon, J., Guerrero, L., Floyd, K., (2010). Nonverbal Communication.

Madden, Steven J. (1999). Proxemics and Gender: Where’s the Spatial Gap? Vol. 12, p41-46. 


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