Room to move: on spatial constraints and self-disclosure during intimate conversations

V.S. Okken, Thomas Johannes Lucas van Rompay, Adriaan T.H. Pruyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


The tendency to disclose information is affected by several factors, including the environment in which a conversation takes place. The study reported investigates the effect of spaciousness impressions on self-disclosure during interviews on intimate lifestyle-related topics comprising substance intake, sexuality, and emotions. To influence perceived spaciousness, desk size (interpersonal space) and room size (architectural space) were manipulated. The results show that room size in particular affects self-disclosing behavior with increases in architectural space positively affecting self-disclosure. However, the effects obtained varied considerably across the different topics, and decreases in interpersonal space hampered self-disclosure on sexuality-related topics. Furthermore, nonverbal measures revealed that readjustments of posture, interpersonal distancing, and refrains from establishing eye contact are used to counteract space intrusions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-760
Number of pages25
JournalEnvironment and behavior
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2013


  • METIS-287230
  • IR-81084


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