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Emotional Proximity

We provided evidence of the spontaneity of a behavioral contagion, which can support the presence of scratch contagion in Tibetan macaques. The perception-action coupling mechanism dominated by the mirror neuron system is the physiological basis of behavior contagion [46,47]; that is, animals may produce similar behaviors in a short time when they see some familiar behaviors of others. We found that scratch contagion tended to occur in a very short time, and it was less likely to occur with time delay (see Figure 1). It should be noted that our judgment of scratch contagion is based on each pair of adjacent scratches, but we have to admit that some contagions may be affected by triggered scratches longer ago. This is an unavoidable limitation of behavior observation experiments. Compared with previous studies, this highlights the instantaneity of scratch contagion in Tibetan macaques. In the yawn contagion study of gelada baboons, even if it has been proved that there is a significant difference between the yawn contagion within five minutes and the baseline situation of a spontaneous yawn, the contagion occurs more in the second minute, and its frequency in the other four minutes is at an approximate level [11]. Such instantaneity was also not shown in the study of scratch contagion in orangutans [24]. In the pair-housed cage experiment, there are scratch contagions concentrated in the first 60 s [48], but they may be subjected to unavoidable human interference, such as the increased stress due to a small-scale cage. Just like rapid facial mimicry (RFM) [49], contagious scratching may be an automatic, unconscious and rapid motor mirror reaction, which is conducive to the emotional communication between members of the group. By feeling the emotional activities of others, costly interaction and even conflict can be avoided [50]. However, the link between behavioral contagion and empathy also needs to be reflected in the strength change of contagions between different individuals because the relationships between members are not at the same level.

emotional proximity


So how can leaders connect employees to culture today? Through work, emotional proximity and micro-based experiences. These three strategic approaches are highly impactful on connectedness, and connectedness itself has a significant impact on performance and retention.

It is a common fact that North Americans need three feet of space between them when conversing and yet South Americans (or those from warmer climates) require only a few inches of personal space. What defines our comfort level of proximity?

Our physical and more importantly emotional proximity is often determined by how willing and open we are to listen to and understand the other; to care for and share with others. For example, stepping into a room filled with ten people can feel overwhelming if you don't know them. But if all were friends or relatives or siblings, then even ten can seem a small number.

For example, Jokela et al. [18] analyzed temperament traits (i.e., emotionality, sociability, and activity) in a large prospective study in Finland. They found that more (vs. less) sociable individuals had greater moving distances and were more likely to move to urban (vs. rural) areas. Furthermore, individuals high (vs. low) in the temperament trait of emotionality had decreased moving distance, but an increased likelihood of leaving the parental home. The Big Five personality traits have also been analyzed in terms of moving behaviors. It has been found that men (but not women) higher in neuroticism and extraversion were more likely to move [35]. In short, past research has found that moving decisions are not only influenced by demographic aspects (e.g., education), sociological aspects (e.g., family bonds), genetic dispositions [8], and economic considerations (e.g., earnings), but also by psychological aspects such as temperament traits, personality, and affect [37].

Data collection for the present study took place in German-speaking countries of Europe, which represent long-term politically stable, economically-developed societies with a high standard of living. Therefore, we can expect that participants were generally motivated to move by an optimistic outlook in life, rather than a pessimistic one as proposed by deficiency models [45]. Deficiency models postulate that a lack of personal and social resources are the driving forces behind moving, at least in countries with political and/or economic problems. This is also in line with results of Stieger et al. [37], who found that parent-child proximity was associated with positive affect, where affect can be best described as a sort of basic mood, which in turn is the breeding ground for emotions. Individuals with high positive affect (i.e., enthusiastic, active, and attentive; [44]) moved further away from their parents than individuals with low positive affect.

Research question 1: If value theory is a useful lens through which to analyze migration behavior, then according to the deficiency model German-speaking participants should be generally motivated to move because of an optimistic outlook in life. If this is the case, then values associated with growth and anxiety-freedom should be positively associated with parent-child proximity, whereas values associated with self-protection and anxiety avoidance should be negatively correlated with parent-child proximity.

To keep the measurement of distances as error-free as possible, we took the following considerations into account. First, we tried to assess the distance as accurately as possible. Asking participants about their real address violates ethics standards concerning anonymity. Therefore, we used the postal code area, which is not as precise as the real address but more precise than, for example, the municipality. Second, we calculated three operationalizations of distance: the real distance when driving on the road, the distance as the crow flies, and the travel time. Third, when measuring distances, there was the question of the geographical reference point. Past research has used several approaches, including the last residence, the place of birth (e.g., [18, 43]), the place where the parents live (parent-child proximity: e.g., [22]), and so forth. Therefore, we calculated three different measures of distance:

In European German-speaking countries, municipalities (equivalent to US counties), are divided into several postal code areas. This comes with the advantage that postal code areas are geographically more precise than the municipality itself. Although the exact postal address would have been best for calculating the parent-child proximity (but problematic because of anonymity and ethics reasons), using distances between the centers of postal code areas seem to be a very good estimator of the real distance.

Interestingly, the relative importance of basic human values explained a similar amount of variance in the outcome measure as compared with demographics. The sum of all dominance weights from all 19 values explained 4.2 % for parent-child proximity and 4.0 % for childhood-now proximity (parent-childhood proximity: 1.4 %). More specifically, the farther the distance the lower was the importance for values associated with the higher order value of Conservation (e.g., Security-social, Tradition, Conformity-rules), but the greater was the importance for values of the higher order value of Self-transcendence (e.g., Universalism-concern, Universalism-tolerance) and Openness to change (e.g., Self-direction). This is in line with the assumption that values opposite to each other in the circumplex model (see Fig. 1) should be antagonistic, e.g., the higher the importance of growth values, the lower should be the importance of self-protection values.

As can be seen in Fig. 1, the line of the reference category (i.e., parent-childhood proximity) only shows minor deviations from the null-line, which results in a centroid that is almost exactly presented in the middle of the circle. Centroids for parent-child as well as childhood-now deviate from the center away from the higher order value of Conservation towards the higher order value of Openness to change. Interpreted more globally, both centroids head towards the higher order value of growth and anxiety-freedom away from self-protection and anxiety-avoidance (see Fig. 1). This effect is mainly driven by the lower importance of the self-protection values (Conformity-rules, Tradition, and Security-social). Furthermore, the lines for parent-child and childhood-now proximity have a very similar line structure, with only one descriptively larger deviation at the Hedonism value. This speaks to the robustness of the results found for parent-child proximity [28].

Further potential predictors of parent-child proximity, which were not analyzed here, would also be of interest. For example the emotional attachment to parents or in general the rearing behavior of parents could have an influence on the parent-child proximity.

Adult humans, chimpanzees, bonobos and gelada baboons have shown a social modulatory effect on the strength of contagion. For humans cross-cultural observational data have shown the CY effect to be stronger in response to the yawns of kin, then friends, then acquaintances, and lastly strangers [26]. Similarly, for bonobos and gelada baboons, CY correlates with social bonding [9], [10]. Studies of chimpanzees present a more complex picture. Chimpanzees yawn contagiously in response to videos of yawns by familiar, but not unfamiliar conspecifics (i.e., non-group members [7]). In contrast to bonobos [9], baboons [10] and humans [26]), chimpanzee susceptibility to yawn contagion does, however, not appear affected by relationship quality with familiar conspecifics (as indexed by grooming and proximity patterns [8]). While this may suggest that yawn contagion in chimpanzees is influenced by familiarity (group membership), but not relationship quality (with in-group members), the methodologies used may account for the differences found across species. While the positive effect of relationship quality on CY in bonobos, baboons and humans has been established through observational studies of spontaneous yawns, the negative findings for chimpanzees derived from projecting videos of yawning group-members on a wall. Videos were presented to multiple individuals simultaneously, including sometimes to the individual depicted in the video. The results may thus have been influenced by the medium, the attentional states of observing chimpanzees, and the likelihood of others yawning to the stimuli. In contrast the study, in which chimpanzees were found to yawn contagiously to familiar, but not unfamiliar, conspecifics, presented video stimuli individually, in a context where attentional focus was ensured [7]. The order of presentation of the in- and out-group chimpanzee yawn stimuli may, however have produced carry-over effects, as all subjects first viewed videos of familiar in-group members yawning, meaning that less attention may have been paid to the out-group yawn stimuli, viewed at a later point. The difference in CY to familiar and unfamiliar conspecific yawns may thus lie in attentional states, and the results await additional analyses or replication. Ascertaining whether CY in chimpanzees is influenced by relationship quality, or only by a less fine-grained in-group/out-group effect requires further research. 041b061a72

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