Body space in social interactions: A comparison of reaching and comfort distance in immersive virtual reality

Tina Iachini, Yann Coello, Francesca Frassinetti, Gennaro Ruggiero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Do peripersonal space for acting on objects and interpersonal space for interacting with con-specifics share common mechanisms and reflect the social valence of stimuli? To answer this question, we investigated whether these spaces refer to a similar or different physical distance.

Methodology: Participants provided reachability-distance (for potential action) and comfort-distance (for social processing) judgments towards human and non-human virtual stimuli while standing still (passive) or walking toward stimuli (active). Principal Findings: Comfort-distance was larger than other conditions when participants were passive, but reachability and comfort distances were similar when participants were active. Both spaces were modulated by the social valence of stimuli (reduction with virtual females vs males, expansion with cylinder vs robot) and the gender of participants.

Conclusions: These findings reveal that peripersonal reaching and interpersonal comfort spaces share a common motor nature and are sensitive, at different degrees, to social modulation. Therefore, social processing seems embodied and grounded in the body acting in space.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere111511
JournalPLoS One
Volume9
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 18 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Body space in social interactions: A comparison of reaching and comfort distance in immersive virtual reality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this