What is the PROPINQUITY Effect and FELICIFIC Calculus?

The MIT Westgate Studies

By Prasad Nilanth

The “P” theory was first crafted by psychologists Leon Festinger, Stanley Schachter, and Kurt Back in what came to be called the Westgate Studies conducted at MIT.

The study investigated how friendships developed among students at the new Westgate Complex at MIT. The results clearly showed the role of proximity in the formation of friendships. The strongest friendships developed between students who lived next to each other on the same floor. Where friendships developed between students who lived on different floors, one of those students tended to live near the stairways.


In social psychology, propinquity (/prəˈpɪŋkwɪtiː/; from Latin propinquitas, “nearness”) is one of the main factors leading to interpersonal attraction. It refers to the physical or psychological proximity between people. Propinquity can mean physical proximity, a kinship between people, or a similarity in nature between things (“like-attracts-like”).

Two people living on the same floor of a building, for example, have a higher propinquity than those living on different floors, just as two people with similar political beliefs possess a higher propinquity than those whose beliefs strongly differ.

Propinquity is also one of the factors, set out by Jeremy Bentham, used to measure the amount of (utilitarian) pleasure in a method known as felicific calculus.

MORE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felicific_calculus


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