September 2019
Volume 19, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2019
Invisible social space alters human walking behaviours
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Chen Zhou
    Shanghai Key Laboratory of Brain Functional Genomics, Key Laboratory of Brain Functional Genomics, Ministry of Education, School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University
  • Ming-Cheng Miao
    Shanghai Key Laboratory of Brain Functional Genomics, Key Laboratory of Brain Functional Genomics, Ministry of Education, School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University
  • Yi-Fei Hu
    Shanghai Key Laboratory of Brain Functional Genomics, Key Laboratory of Brain Functional Genomics, Ministry of Education, School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University
  • Shu-Guang Kuai
    Shanghai Key Laboratory of Brain Functional Genomics, Key Laboratory of Brain Functional Genomics, Ministry of Education, School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University
    NYU-ECNU Institute of Brain and Cognitive Science, New York University Shanghai
Journal of Vision September 2019, Vol.19, 179b. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.179b
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      Chen Zhou, Ming-Cheng Miao, Yi-Fei Hu, Shu-Guang Kuai; Invisible social space alters human walking behaviours. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):179b. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.179b.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Human walking behaviours are influenced by other people in daily lives. People usually make a detour to keep a certain distance from others in a social scene. There are two hypotheses that explain the behaviour of a detour. The first hypothesis claims that human requires a physical buffer space during walking to avoid collisions with others. The second hypothesis claims people might need a social space to keep a comfortable distance with others during walking. In the current study, we conducted two experiments to compare these two hypotheses. In Experiment 1, participants were asked to steer towards a door which was five meters away in a virtual environment, while a virtual human would be standing at the middle point between the start point and the destination. Participants tended to take a larger detour when the virtual human was facing them, to keep a distance from the virtual human. The results highlighted the importance of social features in guiding walking behaviours. In Experiment 2, participants were asked to bypass a pair of virtual humans. When the two virtual humans were interacting, participants made a larger detour to keep a farther distance from them. The social force model which only considered the physical factors of people, such as spatial position, failed to explain our data. Thus, we built a social interaction field model which quantified the strength of social interaction between people in a social scene. We further combined our model with the social force model. The combined model reached a good fitting performance of our experimental data. These results show that people’s detour behaviours are influenced by the social features of humans and support the hypothesis of invisible human social space.

Acknowledgement: This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China Grants (No. 31771209, No. 31571160), the National Social Science Foundation of China Grants (No. 15ZDB016), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities and the JRI Seed Grants NYU-ECNU Institute of Brain and Cognitive Science at NYU Shanghai. 
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