Claustrophobic Fear and Near Space Representation Open Access

Marker, Arwen Michelle (2012)

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Claustrophobic Fear and Near Space Representation
Near space, or the protective area directly surrounding the body, has been found to correlate with
claustrophobic fear (i.e., the fear of enclosed and restrictive situations). Previous research
suggests that abnormally large representations of near space may be a causal factor for
claustrophobic fear. This study aims to further investigate this relation through active
manipulation of the size of near space. Recent research also shows near space to be reliably
enlarged through tool use. This study utilizes sticks, specifically, during a line bisection task to
enlarge near space representation in a sample of undergraduates. Trait and state-level measures
of claustrophobic fear were then taken to analyze the effect of this manipulation on
claustrophobic fear. Results suggest that enlarged near spaces may not be a clear causal factor
for claustrophobic fear. After the stick manipulation, higher levels of claustrophobic fear were
actually found to correlate with smaller near space representations. One possible explanation for
these findings may be that individuals with higher levels of claustrophobic fear may exhibit less
flexibility in their representations of near space. These inflexible spatial representations, in
individuals with high claustrophobic fear could, instead, be a causal factor for this kind of fear.

Keywords: Spatial representation, near/peripersonal space, claustrophobia

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction - Page 1

Experiment 1- Page 10

Method - Page 11

Results and Discussion - Page 16

Experiment 2 - Page 18

Method - Page 19

Results and Discussion - Page 21

General Discussion - Page 24

References - Page 30

Endnotes - Page 33

Tables and Figures - Page 34

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