Biased estimations of interpersonal distance in non-clinical social anxiety

Nur Givon-Benjio, Hadas Okon-Singer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous studies have indicated that socially-anxious individuals prefer to maintain a greater interpersonal distance from others, specifically from strangers. Notwithstanding, it has yet to be examined whether this preference for distance is associated with estimating the physical interpersonal distance in a distorted manner. In the current study, 100 participants performed a computerized task that measured estimated distance (Study 1). An additional sample of 75 participants performed the same task for the purpose of replication, and further took part in a new task that measured estimated distance from a stranger in a real-life setting (Study 2). In both studies social anxiety correlated with estimating the interpersonal distance from strangers as shorter. Furthermore, ones' preferred distance from a stranger was predicted by this distance estimation bias. Taken together, our findings are the first to reveal distance estimation bias in social anxiety, suggesting a role for distorted distance estimation in avoidance behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102171
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
StatePublished - Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s)


  • Comfortable interpersonal distance (CID)
  • Estimated interpersonal distance (EID)
  • Estimation biases
  • Social anxiety (SA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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