Will Social Distancing Have a Lasting Impact on ‘Personal Space’?

Good For:
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have shown an increase in subjects’ ‘personal space’ requirements since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the same study, they observed a correlation between the size of the increase and individual subject’s level of concern about contracting the COVID-19 virus. Whether the increases endure after the pandemic subsides is an important question, as personal space requirements often reflect social functioning.
  • The Mass General Research Institute was formed to support, promote and guide research at Massachusetts General Hospital—home of the largest hospital-based research enterprise in the United States. For this year’s Cambridge Science Festival, our researchers contributed videos, activity books, science experiments and much more. See all of our activities here.
  • Emotion and Social Neuroscience Laboratory
    Daphne Holt, MD, PhD, is the Director of the Resilience and Prevention Program and the Emotion and Social Neuroscience Laboratory within the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging and Massachusetts General Hospital. She is also Co-Director of the Schizophrenia Clinical and Research Program at Mass General. Her lab studies emotion and social cognition, and the circuits of the brain involved in these processes, in healthy populations, individuals with psychosis and young people who may be at risk for developing a psychiatric disorder. Click here for more information about the lab.

About the

Cambridge Science Festival, the first of its kind in the United States, is a madcap celebration of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). A multifaceted, multicultural event, the Festival makes science accessible, interactive, and fun, highlighting the impact of STEAM in all our lives.

For the 2021 Festival, we will host a month-long celebration of STEAM in our community with an overarching theme of gratitude and appreciation. During the month of April 2021, we will showcase creative digital and virtual entries from our rich STEAM community.

MIT Covid-19 policies