Space Invaders: Examining the Effects of Portable Music Players on Perceived Crowding
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An invasion of personal space occurs when levels of contact with others exceed desired levels of contact and can lead to feelings of crowding, anxiety and stress. The current study investigated whether the use of portable music players (e.g., MP3 players) under conditions of personal space invasion has an effect on level of anxiety, stress after-effects, perceived control, and cognitive processing style. The results indicate that using MP3 players does not affect one’s level of anxiety, stress after-effects, and perceived control. However, those who listened to music tended to engage in global cognitive processing. There was also an interaction effect between gender, MP3 player use, and personal space invasion on perceived control. Compared to males, females who listened to music felt that their lives were governed by chance when their personal space was invaded, whereas the opposite was true when their personal space was not invaded.