You should have access to a large number of children between the ages of 5 and 12 years old.
You might need a video camera in order to record conversations between children.
Very Low (under $20)
Michelle Maranowski, PhD, Science Buddies
For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.
If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk (*) at the end of the title.
How do you feel when a friend comes too close to you? How far away or close do you think is necessary to have a conversation with someone? The answers to these questions are dependent upon the size of your personal space. Some people like to be within a foot of each other when having a conversation and others feel that being 3 feet apart is still just a little too close for comfort.
Personal space is defined as the protective area surrounding a person's body (not necessarily spherical in size) that the person regards as psychologically his or hers. Invasion of personal space can lead to discomfort, anger, or anxiety. In the animal kingdom, personal space differs from territory in that it is mobile. We take our personal space wherever we go. Another difference is that territory boundaries are fixed, whereas personal space has dynamic boundaries, dependent upon the situation. When person 1 enters person 2's personal space, person 2 will usually get very uncomfortable and withdraw from the vicinity. As someone gets closer to us, we pick up on cues that give us information about that person. For example, as someone gets closer, we pick up on thermal, olfactory, and facial cues. Some of these cues might signal that we should get away from that person immediately!
There are many different questions you can ask about personal space. For example, at what age do humans start to develop their personal space? When do we start to learn socially acceptable behavior when interacting with other people? Does the size of a person's personal space depend upon his or her gender? Are personal space boundaries equal in all directions? Does it matter if someone walks straight toward us or sidles up next to us? Are there different personal space zones? How does culture affect personal space? If these questions interest you and you are not too afraid to get close, then you ought to attempt this science project! To get some ideas on how to set up personal space testing, check out the references in the Bibliography.
Aiello, J. and Aiello T.D. (1974). The Development of Personal Space: Proxemic Behavior of Children 6 Through 16. Human Ecology. Vol. 2, No. 3, 177-189.
Kincher, Jonni. Psychology for Kids II: 40 Fun Experiments That Help You Learn About Others. Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing Inc., 1995.
Ask an Expert
Do you have specific questions about your science project? Our team of volunteer scientists can help. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot.
Why people take certain actions can often feel like a mystery. Psychologists help solve these mysteries by investigating the physical, cognitive, emotional, or social aspects of human behavior and the human mind. Some psychologists also apply these findings in order to design better products or to help people change their behaviors.
Anthropologists who are employed by colleges and universities usually spend much of their time in offices, classrooms, and libraries. Their working hours are flexible but often total more than 40 hours a week. Most anthropologists also do some field work. This work may take them to study sites as diverse as the Arctic to study the Inuit or Eskimos, to Africa to dig at an archaeological site or observe monkeys in their natural habitat, or into a modern city to record the behavior and attitudes…
Families and couples face many problems, from difficult child behaviors, depression, and compulsions to anger-management issues and eating disorders. Sometimes these problems get repeated generation after generation, whereas other times they arise spontaneously. Marriage and family therapists can help break the cycles of maladaptive behaviors. They provide goal-oriented counseling that focuses on the family and close relationships. They diagnose mental health problems, give psychological tests,…
General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.
Science Buddies Staff.
"Don't Stand So Close To Me! An Investigation into Personal Space." Science Buddies,
20 Nov. 2020,
Accessed 3 Oct. 2022.
Science Buddies Staff.
(2020, November 20).
Don't Stand So Close To Me! An Investigation into Personal Space.