“Unfortunately, many of the most important standards of acceptable behavior in different cultures are elusive: they are intangible, undefined and unwritten. In the interest of intercultural understanding, various U.S. Government agencies have hired anthropologists from time to time as technical experts. For instance, in Latin America, where touching is more common and the basic units of space seem to be smaller, North Americans are disturbed by how close the Latin Americans stand when they converse. The Latin Americans, for their part, complain that people in the U.S. are distant and cold—retraídos (withdrawing and uncommunicative).”

Scientific American, April 1955

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