To determine peoples' personal space preferences, the study's international team of researchers presented each participant with an image featuring two people standing about seven feet apart. Researchers asked them to imagine themselves as one of the individuals and mark on the sheet how close the other person should approach for a conversation, based on whether they were a stranger, acquaintance, or intimate relation/friend.
Of all the countries represented, people in Argentina were found to expect the least amount of space when talking with a stranger (roughly 2.5ft), followed by Peru and Bulgaria. On the flip side, Romanians preferred to have the most amount of physical space (roughly 4.5ft), followed by Hungarians and Saudi Arabians. Respondents in the US fell somewhere in the middle, preferring just over three feet of space from strangers.