Iannetti, Giandomenico and Sambo, Chiara, 'Better safe than sorry? The safety margin surrounding the body is increased by anxiety', The Journal of Neuroscience, 2013.
Defensive peripersonal space (DPPS)
A larger DPPS means that those with high anxiety scores perceive threats as closer than non-anxious individuals when the stimulus is the same distance away. The research has led scientists to think that the brain controls the strength of defensive reflexes even though it cannot initiate them. (…) Scientists hope that the findings can be used as a test to link defensive behaviours to levels of anxiety.
University College London. (2013, August 27). Size of personal space is affected by anxiety. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130827204337.htm