Did you know that young males with organized college dorm rooms that have a sports décor tend to be conservative? Or that liberals are more likely to have messy room? Or that displaying inspirational posters sometimes signals a neurotic?” Those are just some of Sam Gosling’s fascinating findings. He’s an academic snoop and proud of it. He doesn’t need to data mine spying to uncover some of our behaviors and beliefs. Instead, he observes how we reveal ourselves by how and what we display in our homes, offices and cars.
Do Others See You as You See Yourself?
We see some things about ourselves very clearly, such as recognizing our level of optimism, pessimism and self-esteem. Yet, we are biased by our craving to be liked. Thus we’re heavily invested in believing in our traits such as intelligence, attractiveness, body language so they become our blind spots. That’s one of the reasons why it is helpful to recognize our personality traits by what we display, according to Gosling. We send mixed signals, in what we display and do, when ourselves differently than others view us, thus the chance of misunderstanding and friction.
What are you inadvertently revealing?
We often reveal aspects of our personality traits by what we display, according to Gosling. From the pet you choose, to where you sit in a group, to the clothes you wear, you are constantly revealing your personality, what you most value, how you feel about yourself and others, how you view the world and even how you want to be treated.
• Dog owners, for example, rank higher in agreeableness, conscientiousness and extraversion than cat owners but lower in openness and neuroticism. Dog owners: Is your pet’s personality compatible with yours?
• You are showing whether you are more extroverted or introverted.
• Even the ambiance of a place – and what kind of personalities it attracts — can be determined by the profiles of the Foursquare users who frequent it.
• “Your desk is actually a window into your personality,” says Gosling. “An empty desk often indicates dissatisfaction with or a lack of dedication to a job. An overgrown fern says a worker is there to stay. Every single element, every item, got here somehow.”
How Do You Mark Your Territory?
I’ve summarized some of Gosling’s other clues over at Forbes.