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EYE CONTACT, PHYSICAL PROXIMITY AND LAUGHTER: A RE-EXAMINATION OF THE EQUILIBRIUM MODEL OF SOCIAL INTIMACY

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Abstract:

Independent groups of 7-year-old subjects listened to humor on headphones, either with a nonlistening companion (audience) or with a companion who also listened (coactor), and at one of two interpersonal distances. In coaction sessions, children sitting closer engaged in more eye contact, laughter and smiling. The direct relationship between them and other intimacy signals is unequivocal evidence against Argyle and Dean's (1965) equilibrium model of social intimacy. It is argued that this model is based upon an invalid assumption, namely, that levels of intimacy remain static during interactions. Humorous laughter is identified as a means of reducing social arousal. Audience and coaction differences in laughter and smiling and correlational data mirror previous results. Girls tended to engage in more eye contact than did boys.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1975.3.2.143

Publication date: January 1, 1975

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