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Distance and Liking: When Moving Close Produces Increased Liking

Arnold Kahn and Timothy A. McGaughey
Sociometry
Vol. 40, No. 2 (Jun., 1977), pp. 138-144
DOI: 10.2307/3033517
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3033517
Page Count: 7
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Distance and Liking: When Moving Close Produces Increased Liking
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Abstract

The proximity-attraction relationship appears well-established from observational and non-encounter research; however, when distance has been experimentally manipulated and attraction measured as the dependent variable the relationship has not been obtained. Procedural ambiguities, which have been present in past research, were eliminated in the present study. Specifically, two confederates, one who on two separate occasions approached close and one who on two separate occasions stayed at a far distance, were used. In addition, other intimacy cues were held constant across proximity conditions, and the sex of subject and sex of confederate were manipulated. A Significant main effect (p < .01) for proximity revealed that under these conditions attraction could be determined by proximity manipulations. However, a significant Sex of Subject x Sex of Conderate x Proximity interaction (p <.05) showed that the distance-attraction relationship held only for cross-sex pairs. Finally, sex differences in the responsiveness to proximity suggested that the meaning of physical distance, and support for the proximity-attraction relationship, will vary with the meaning attribute to proximity.

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