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Breaching Expiriment

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Breaching Experiment: The Human Response to the Invasion of Personal Space.

Most people do not like having their personal space invaded and everyone reacts to this in their own personal matter, depending on that person's preference and the approach of invasion as well. As a usual, we keep distance between other people about arm’s length; we call it personal space. In most cases, this personal space is set for the comfort ability of one another. However, in my experiment, I decided to breach this norm, and took some situations into action. I invaded personal spaces of friend and strangers and observed the reactions of these people.
The feedback I received from the invasion of my friend's personal space differed from the response of invading a stranger's. While we were at the café with my best female friend, I stayed very close to her all the time. As we sat down at the table, I sat near her, where was enough space only for one person, instead of sitting on the opposite side. She hadn’t say anything about my invasion, but I noticed that she was wandering if something wrong with me. Though, when I intruded stranger’s personal space, their reaction toward it was different. While I was in subway, I spotted a man who was sitting on the empty bench and reading a newspaper. When I sat down right beside him, as close as I could, the man stopped reading and looked at me, as if he was expecting me to say something, but I just smiled to him. The man ease up a little and continued his reading. But, with the same scenario, when I sat down by old age women, she looked over at me incredulously. I smiled to her, but she got up and walked away to the end of the car. She seemed very nervous.
However, I decided to approach individuals of my age - teenagers. I noticed a girl, sitting alone on the bench, and sat right down to her, as I did before. Her reaction was totally different. She looked over at me and asked if I could reseat because sitting so close makes her feel uncomfortable. She was very polite and friendly, so I only could follow her advice and ease up. The girl smiled to me.

As with the two adults that I encountered in the Mall, the man and the woman both responded toward my approach in their own polite way. Even though the two were at about the same age group, one more issue became involved with the situation. First of all, the Caucasian man and I were of dissimilar race and ethnicity, which holds a possibility of being a factor to his response. Then again, the lady's courteous behavior when I sat down by her may be from the issue that we were of the same ethnicity and of the same sex as well, giving her the comfort ability with my presence being near. I have observed that gender has a great affect on invading personal space. When my male group member made his approach with an Asian adult female at the mall, I witnessed her negative response toward his action while my experience resulted positively. Another observation of mine with the other male member of my group also involved the issue of gender. While he stood very closely to an adult couple in an elevator, the stranger male pulled his female significant other closer toward his body. However, when a female member of my group approached the same situation, the outcome was vice versa, where the female stranger drew closer to her male significant other.
Carrying out this study of personal space invasion has not presented me with any obvious result of negativity until I stumbled upon an Asian female student at UCR. One reason I believe, that may have cause such an indecent behavior may be because we were of the same ethnicity, sex and same age group. In such cases, as would most adolescents during this example, would contribute to Erving Goffman's dramaturgical approach. Goffman's perspective is that people resemble performers, and most adolescents of this young age group are these performers in a matter in which they are concerned with their image. This leads to another aspect of the self, face-work. In this sense, people make efforts to maintain proper image and avoid embarrassment in public. With a majority of youngster's, there is tension between one another, creating competition and the want to with hold an image that they want everyone to view them as. I would assume that the UCR girl reacted with such offensiveness because she wanted to protect her own image, to show that she was strong, where if she had just walked away without showing me a sign of anger, it would be taken into her opinion that I had the power of harassing her and putting her down. Therefore, her rude expression was her way of defending herself against the action I took upon her.
Through my experimentation of the human response to the invasion of personal space, it was obvious that there was no positive or negative correlation. It was a qualitative research in which everything was measured through naturalistic settings. My approach of invading one's personal space was the control variable used. The individuals that were randomly sampled were the independent variables, which had fixed traits, such as gender, race and age. The difference in gender affects personal space. Generally, members of the opposite sexes are more acceptable of another being close to them. Personal space reactions also alter with age, as the older one may be; the more mature their manner gets if their space gets invaded.
In conclusion, the social norm of having personal space is frequently taken for granted. As observed, there are no real consequences when this norm is breached. On the other hand, the reactions of others when their space that is needed to be at comfort in that particular environment is violated, their responses may result negatively or positively, depending on the variables of gender, age, sex, ethnicity and an individual's preference. Many informal norms are taken for granted by society without realizing how much it may affect us all if it was breached. How would you react if you and a stranger were the only ones in an elevator, but instead of being spaced out, this individual decided they would stand right in back of you, where you can almost feel their breath on your neck? Would a situation like this be normal? How would you respond?…...

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