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Psy 460 - the Effects of Population Density and Noise Paper

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The Effects of Population Density and Noise Paper

Psy 460

February 27, 2012

Carlos Guzman

Population density and noise can have a variety of effects on people. When privacy, personal space, and territory are violated by other people or chronic noise, the effects can range from simple annoyance to severe intrusive anxiety-producing illness (Straub, 2007). As population density increases and territory, privacy, and personal space are violated, the noise the population produces increases; likewise, as people move to a more confined area the ability to maintain privacy and a sense of territoriality adapts and changes. To completely comprehend how population density affects individuals, the concepts of noise, privacy, territoriality, and personal space must be addressed. In this paper, I will describe the concepts of territoriality, privacy, and personal space, examine how the concepts of territoriality, privacy, and personal space have become increasingly important as populations become denser, clarify the effect nature has on individuals living in urban environments. I will describe the concept of noise and examine the effect that it has on individuals, and examine at least two strategies that can be used to reduce noise in the workplace or in the living environment.

Territoriality, Privacy, and Personal Space

Territories are areas marked and defended by their owners and used for important life-sustaining activities (Territoriality, 2004). Humans personalize and defend spaces important to them (2004). However, because humans rely on symbolic means of marking and employ outside agencies to defend their spaces, many differences exist between human and animal territories (Territoriality, 2004). Human territories may be less rooted in survival needs than in a desire for status, privacy, and solitude. There may be a complex system of ownership and control in human territories that includes a distant owner, a mortgage holder, a local manager, and tenants. People hire others to patrol and defend their territories. Research suggests that three domains make up territory. In Airman's classification system, primary territories are central to the day-to-day lives of the occupants, clearly marked as theirs, and controlled by them on a regular basis such as a person's home or private office (Clayton & Myers, 2009). Secondary territories refer to place that are not owned a particular individual or group and is open to others such as a neighborhood coffee (Clayton & Myers, 2009). Public territories such as sidewalks, streets, and parks, although owned, marked, and policed by a municipality or agency, are open to all those who obey rules of occupancy that may limit usage to certain times and activities (Clayton & Myers, 2009).

Privacy regulation refers to how individuals and groups control interactions with others, especially about confidential or intimate information or with respect to physical contact or access (Privacy, 2004). Privacy regulation is defined as the selective control of access to the self or to one's group (Privacy, 2004). All societies have urbanized procedures for regulating privacy, and effective use of these procedures is interrelated to individual and group viability. In modern society, new technologies raise concern about the control over the information of others, which has forced defining balance of privacy versus public information. Privacy needs and values vary between individuals and also between situations and cultures (Clayton & Myers, 2009).

The term personal space was introduced into the social psychological literature to describe the emotionally tinged zone around the human body that people feel is their space (Personal space, 2004). Personal space is the physical distance we choose by which to maintain interpersonal relationships (Personal space, 2004). Personal space and territoriality are interrelated regarding privacy in which they are methods used for maintaining privacy. Personal space is an area with invisible boundaries surrounding a person's body into which intruders may not come (Personal space, 2004). Research suggests such space is changeable, similar to privacy, and varies between individuals, situations, and culture

Territoriality, Privacy, and Personal Space as Population Density Increases

Privacy guidelines vary from person to person. Privacy is more closely related to interpersonal relationships than to objective social density. As with many environmental stimuli, medial levels of social inputs are optimal for most people. When population density increases, the desires for privacy, territoriality, and personal space increase as well. In order to control social inputs, humans become more protective of primary territories. However, population density is only a number given meaning by the social, psychological, and situational context that it exists.

Population density affects people, and it also contributes to the psychological effects of crowding whereby people feel confined and limited with less access to necessities. Crowding has been linked to aggression, social withdrawal, increased criminal acts, and inappropriate social interaction (Stokols, 1972). To decrease the symptoms of crowding, it is essential to preserve privacy, personal space, and honor territoriality as a basic human social need. As the resource of space decreases, privacy and personal space demand greater acknowledgment to prevent psychological affects. Without privacy and personal space people tend to feel less control, more competition, and have an increased tendency to react negatively to minor annoyances (Straub, 2007).

The Effect of Nature on Individuals Living

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