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Heini Hediger (1908-1992) was a Swiss zoologist noted for work in proxemics in animal behavior and is known as the "father of zoo biology". Hediger described a number of standard interaction distances used in one form or another between animals. Two of these are flight distance and critical distance, used when animals of different species meet, whereas others are personal distance and social distance, observed during interactions between members of the same species.[1] Hediger's biological social distance theories were used as a basis for Edward Hall's 1966 anthropological social distance theories. Hediger was formerly the director of Zürich Zoo.

In the 1950s, psychologist Humphry Osmond developed the concept of socio-architecture hospital design, such as was used in the design of the Weyburn, Saskatchewan mental hospital in 1951, based partly on Hediger’s species-habitat work.


...hunger and love can take only second place. The satisfaction of hunger and sexual appetite can be postponed; not so escape from a dangerous enemy, and all animals, even the biggest and fiercest, have enemies. As far as higher animals are concerned, escape must thus at any rate be considered as the most important behavior biologically.

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Hediger, Heini (1955). Studies of the psychology and behaviour of captive animals in zoos and circuses, Butterworths Scientific Publications. ASIN B0007IXEUS.


  1. Hall, Edward, T. (1966). The Hidden Dimension, Anchor Books. ASIN B0006BNQW2.

External linksEdit

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