Observing Peripersonal Distance Regulation of Human Affect with the Embodied Distance Test

  • Mike Finn University of Tennessee, Knoxville Department of Psychology http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1741-7737
  • Albert J. Wong University of Tennessee, Knoxville Department of Psychology
  • Michael R. Nash University of Tennessee, Knoxville Department of Psychology


We frequently regulate our distance from objects with silent automaticity. Various areas of psychology have studied how we regulate space, though issues with measurement have obscured a grounded interpretation of many findings, as is particularly evident in the long tradition of research on personal space. The Embodied Distance Test (EDT) was developed in response to these longstanding issues in the measurement spatial behavior and experience in humans, providing a replicable and extensible method for interdisciplinary use. Through calculating difference between predetermined image presentation locations to the participant's later placement locations of the same stimuli, the procedure uses a fairly simple method for indexing spatial distortion.  We demonstrate reliable distortion of images of human affect in peripersonal space, and further exploration of empirically-measured differences between explicit and implicit versions of the task which amplify theoretical concerns regarding the first-person experience of peripersonal space.


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