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Compliments of Fernando Stankun via Flickr

Why is it that some maintain their space looking like a disheveled mess? – e.g., things strewn about and piles stacked high: at first glance, a matted chaos proclaiming its importance. Perhaps it’s simply a time factor (a belief that messiness incites creativity), or pack rat syndrome. It’s one thing if it’s behind closed doors, but quite another if disarray is in the common space of other people. Turn the page…

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Compliments of Kyle and Kelly Adams, via Flickr

Dr. Sam Gosling, psychology professor at The University of Texas at Austin describes “behavioral seepage” as clues we leave by the type, amount, and condition of the items with which we surround ourselves. He’s a psychological anthropologist of sorts, a visual sleuth who scans individual living spaces to determine something about the personality of its inhabitant. He found for example (not surprisingly) that conscientious individuals have neat, clean, and organized offices. 

Others are however more oblivious and apathetic regarding the presentation they make. Gosling’s (2008) research got me thinking about the personality of individuals who maintain messy offices, and in particular, those whose mess is visible to everyone around them – like in a cube or a bull pen environment. Coworkers see the imposition of your stuff like a silent parade that precedes you. Turn the page…

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