Sierra F Corbin



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Traditionally, visual-spatial perception research has focused quite heavily on the visual information necessary to perceive the environment and the locations of objects within that space. Recent research has illustrated that non-visual factors like our emotional states, motivations and physical abilities affect not just the ways we behave, but may also affect how we perceive the environment. Social factors may also impact the way we see the space around us. This study sought to investigate whether feelings of psychological closeness to another person influenced the perception of spatially-oriented characteristics (e.g. perceived distance) of that person. In short, this study asked whether we perceived people with whom we share social ties to be physically closer than people we do not know. This research intended to determine whether psychological closeness affected perceived physical interpersonal distance using a variety of indicators of perceived egocentric (self-to-target) distance. Fifty undergraduate students were recruited from introductory psychology courses at the University of Dayton. Participants made several estimates of the distance between himself or herself and another “target” person. This target person represented either someone with whom the participant shared a relationship or a stranger. I hypothesized that an individual’s feelings of psychological closeness to someone considered a best friend would lead to the perception of closer visual-spatial proximity to a visual representation of that friend than to a visual representation of a stranger. This project contributes to a growing body of literature illustrating non-visual contributions to the perception of egocentric distance and spatial cognition.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research - Graduate

Primary Advisor

Benjamin R. Kunz

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project

Keeping Your Friends Close: Perceived Distance as a Function of Psychological Closeness