In social psychology
Social psychology is the scientific study of how people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others. By this definition, scientific refers to the empirical method of investigation. The terms thoughts, feelings, and behaviors include all...
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...
, "nearness") is one of the main factors leading to interpersonal attraction
Interpersonal attraction is the attraction between people which leads to friendships and romantic relationships. Interpersonal attraction, the process, is distinct from perceptions of physical attractiveness which involves views of what is and is not considered beautiful or attractive.The study of...
. It refers to the physical or psychological proximity between people. Propinquity can mean physical proximity, a kinship between people, or a similarity in nature between things ("like-attracts-like"). Two people living on the same floor of a building, for example, have a higher propinquity than those living on different floors, just as two people with similar political beliefs possess a higher propinquity than those whose beliefs strongly differ. Propinquity
is also one of the factors, set out by Jeremy Bentham
Jeremy Bentham was an English jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer. He became a leading theorist in Anglo-American philosophy of law, and a political radical whose ideas influenced the development of welfarism...
, used to measure the amount of (utilitarian) pleasure
Pleasure describes the broad class of mental states that humans and other animals experience as positive, enjoyable, or worth seeking. It includes more specific mental states such as happiness, entertainment, enjoyment, ecstasy, and euphoria...
in a method known as felicific calculus
The felicific calculus is an algorithm formulated by utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham for calculating the degree or amount of pleasure that a specific action is likely to cause. Bentham, an ethical hedonist, believed the moral rightness or wrongness of an action to be a function of the...
The propinquity effect
is the tendency for people to form friendships or romantic relationships with those whom they encounter often, forming a bond between subject and friend. Occupational propinquity based on a person's career, is also commonly seen as a factor in marriage selection. In other words, relationships tend to be formed between those who have a high propinquity. It was first theorized by psychologists Leon Festinger
, Stanley Schachter, and Kurt Back in what came to be called the Westgate studies
conducted at MIT (1950). The typical Euler diagram
An Euler diagram is a diagrammatic means of representing sets and their relationships. The first use of "Eulerian circles" is commonly attributed to Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler . They are closely related to Venn diagrams....
used to represent the propinquity effect is shown below where U = universe, A = set A, B = set B, and S = similarity:
The sets are basically any relevant subject matter about a person, persons, or non-persons, depending on the context. Propinquity can be more than just physical distance. Residents of an apartment building living near a stairway, for example, tend to have more friends from other floors than those living further from the stairway. The propinquity effect is usually explained by the mere exposure effect, which holds that the more exposure a stimulus gets, the more likeable it becomes.
In a study on interpersonal attraction (Piercey and Piercey, 1972), 23 graduate psychology students, all from the same class, underwent 9 hours of sensitivity training in two groups. Students were given pre- and post-tests to rate their positive and negative attitudes toward each class member. Members of the same sensitivity training group rated each other higher in the post-test than they rated: members of the other group in both the pre- and post-test, and members of their own group in the pre-test. The results indicated that the 9 hours of sensitivity training increased the exposure of students in the same group to each other, and thus they became more likeable to each other. Therefore, propinquity can be increased in as short of a period as 9 hours.
Propinquity is one of the effects used to study group dynamics
In popular culture
An episode of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis is an American sitcom that aired on CBS from 1959 to 1963. The series and some episode scripts were adapted from a 1951 collection of short stories of the same name, written by Max Shulman, that also inspired the 1953 film The Affairs of Dobie Gillis with Debbie...
entitled Love is a Science
shows Zelda Gilroy
Zelda Gilroy, portrayed by the American actress Sheila James , was the love-struck teenager in CBS's The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis...
assuring Dobie Gillis that he would eventually come to love her through the influence of propinquity, as their similar last names would put them in proximity throughout school. In a 1988 made-for-TV movie based on the series, Dobie and Zelda were portrayed as being married.
Propinquity (I've Just Begun To Care)
is a song by Mike Nesmith of The Monkees
The Monkees are an American pop rock group. Assembled in Los Angeles in 1966 by Robert "Bob" Rafelson and Bert Schneider for the American television series The Monkees, which aired from 1966 to 1968, the musical acting quartet was composed of Americans Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork,...
. It was first recorded by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is an American country-folk-rock band that has existed in various forms since its founding in Long Beach, California in 1966. The group's membership has had at least a dozen changes over the years, including a period from 1976 to 1981 when the band performed and recorded...
on their album Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy
Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy is the 1970 album from The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band that contains the hit song "Mr. Bojangles". The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is notable for having many charting albums and singles. The album reached #66 on US charts. Three singles charted: "Mr...
On page 478 of Jonathan Franzen's 2010 novel Freedom
, Walter attributes his inability to stop having sex with Lalitha to their "daily propinquity."
- Human bonding
Human bonding is the process of development of a close, interpersonal relationship. It most commonly takes place between family members or friends, but can also develop among groups such as sporting teams and whenever people spend time together...
Proxemics is the study of measurable distances between people as they interact. The term was introduced by anthropologist Edward T. Hall in 1966...
- Westermarck effect