The article purpose is to determine the key predictors and dimensions of social proximity. Social proximity is regarded as the basic measure of a person’s psyche; it is reflected in understanding of other people, trust them and perception of their beliefs. The study was conducted with 120 participants, aged 17-59 (average 31.8), 56.7% were women; 43.3% were men. The next psychodiagnostics methods were used: Interview; Social Distance Scale (E. Bogardus); Tolerance Index Questionnaire (G. Soldatova, etc.); Diagnostic Test of Relations (G. Soldatova, etc.); questionnaire “Differential Reflection Test” (D. Leontiev); Questionnaire Measure of Emotional Empathy (A. Mehrabian and N. Epstein). Statistical methods: measures of central tendency, multiple linear regression analysis with stepwise inclusion of variables, multidimensional scaling (PROXSCAL).
The following research results were obtained. The predictors of social proximity are identified, they all relates to a personal ideal. There are two groups of such predictors: the perceived conformity of another person to an ideal and the perceived conformity of an individual to his or her own ideal. That is the more the image of others and oneself agrees with a personal ideal, the greater the social proximity. A self-accepting personal is capable of accepting other people as well. Thus, an ideal is interpreted as a meta-factor of social proximity, because social perception will depend on its characteristics. There are two types of ideals. The first type is ideals as dynamic generalizations, describing personal awareness on interests in oneself, in others, in the whole world. The second is rigid ideals-models. Only the first type of ideals provides an opportunity to achieve social proximity. The socio-psychological phenomenon of the paradox of tolerance was also described. It is that increasing of tolerance for other social groups leads to an increased social distance to one’s own group.
Social proximity can be represented in two basic dimensions: Knowledge-Unknown and Similarity-Otherness. People perceive a person about whom they have information and similar to themselves as socially close. The identified dimensions are consistent with the model of an ideal as a meta-factor of social proximity, and emphasize the importance of socio-psychological technologies of providing information about others and finding common points as a productive way to achieve social unity and understanding.
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