Coronavirus is reshaping personal space. But what does that really mean?

Personal space is wired in our brains, and here’s how scientists discovered it

May 27, 2020
This is an image of people's silhouette against a wall on a street.
Coronavirus is spread through the air, which has forced governments to declare lockdowns and other forms of social distancing in over 200 countries / Credit: Image by Igor Ovsyannykov from Pixabay.

Before the coronavirus outbreak spread across 212 countries, for some Americans, kissing the cheek of someone they just met might have felt off-putting. But in continental Europe, it used to be common practice. And while The Beatles once sang that they wanted to hold the hand of the girl they liked, in many parts of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, men used to hold hands with their male friends as a way of expressing a sense of brotherhood. In the midst of this pandemic, Maria Paula Rubiano started wondering about personal space boundaries. She followed that curiosity, and here’s what she found.

Music: Toxic by By GianBeat.  Beat by Reggaeton Perreo – Instrumental by GianBeat Ft Geka.

Scienceline · Coronavirus is reshaping personal space boundaries. But, what does personal space really mean?

About the Author

Maria Paula Rubiano

Before arriving in New York, Maria Paula worked as a full-time staff reporter for El Espectador, one of Colombia’s leading newspapers. She has traveled on helicopters, boats and canoes looking for stories about water resources and deforestation.


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