2A Room With a Cue: Personality Judgments Based on Offices and Bedrooms Samuel D. Gosling and Sei Jin Ko, University of Texas at AustinThomas Mannarelli, INSEADMargaret E. Morris, SapientJournal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2002
4IntroductionIndividuals select and craft physical environments that reflect and reinforce who they are.Observers use the information available in everyday environments to form impressions of what the occupants of those environments are like.
6Mechanisms Linking Individuals to the Environments They Inhabit Identity claims:Self-directed: People choose decorations that fit their own personal taste and aestheticOther-directed: Displaying symbols to make statements to othersConceptually distinct motivations
7Mechanisms Linking Individuals to the Environments They Inhabit Behavioral residue:Interior: Physical traces of activities conducted in the environmentExterior: Physical traces of activities conducted outside the environmentThese four mechanisms can be interlinked
8Mechanisms Linking Individuals to the Environments They Inhabit
9The Five Factor ModelOpenness to Experience: Creative, imaginative, abstract, curios, inventive, deep thinkers, value art NOT convectional, concrete, traditional.Conscientiousness: Efficient, organized, thorough dependable, hardworking NOT reckless, disorganized, careless and impulsive.Extraversion: Talkative, enthusiastic, energetic, outgoing, assertive, sociable NOT reserved, quiet, shy.Agreeableness: Helpful, selfless, forgiving, trusting, sympathetic, considerate, kind, affectionate NOT blunt, quarrelsome, critical, harshEmotional Stability: Calm, relaxed, able to handle stress NOT easily upset, tense, moody, and anxious
10The Five Factor Model Openness to Experience: (8+Q5-Q10)/2 Averages: Male – 5.39 Female – 5.45Conscientiousness: (8+Q3-Q8)/2Averages: Male – 5.27 Female – 5.56Extraversion: (8+Q1-Q6)/2Averages: Male – 4.30 Female – 4.68Agreeableness: (8+Q7-Q2)/2Averages: Male – 5.05 Female – 5.36Emotional Stability: (8+Q9-Q4)/2Averages: Male – 5.27 Female – 4.65
11Research Goals The primary aim was to document: Evidence for observer accuracyLinks between occupants and the physical features of their personal environments (i.e., cue validity)Links between the physical features and observers’ impressions of occupants (i.e., cue utilization)Stereotype use
12Research Steps Examining inter-observer agreement Testing the accuracy of the observationsExploring cue utilization and cue validityUnderstanding the role of stereotypesIssues were addressed in bedrooms and offices
13Question 1: ConsensusDo observers agree about Individuals’ personalities on the basis of their personal environments?According to past zero-acquaintance studies, observer consensus is not equally strong for all traits (Extraversion consensus > Agreeableness consensus).We expect that physical spaces would provide observers with more information about some traits than about others, thus increasing the consensus regarding these traits
14Question 2: Accuracy Are observers’ impressions correct? Previous zero-acquaintance studies showed observer judgments had some correlation with self reportsSince personal environments are richer in information than are zero-acquaintance contexts we expected significant accuracy correlations for observer judgments
15Question 3: Cue Utilization and Cue Validity Which cues in personal environments do observers use to form their impressions, and which cues are valid?Coded features of the environments were correlated with:Observer judgments (cue utilization)Criterion measures (cue validity)
16Question 4: Stereotype Use How do stereotypes used by observers affect consensus and accuracy?Do observers rate differently occupants they believe to belong to a given social category (e.g., female, white)?Consensus will increase if observers hold and use the same stereotypesStereotypes are sometimes true…
17Design of the StudiesWe examined the above four questions in offices and bedrooms, settings that may facilitate the accumulation of behavioral residue and permit other forms of self-expression. Study 1: Office spaces Study 2: Apartment rooms and dorm rooms
18Observer JudgmentsThe observers were untrained undergraduate students.The observers were unacquainted with the participants and did not discuss their ratings with one another.All photos of occupants and reference to occupants’ names were coveredWe obtained consensus estimates by computing the mean correlation among the observers’ ratings.
19Accuracy CriteriaSelf-ratings from occupants and peer ratings from the occupants’ close acquaintances were obtained.Accuracy estimates were obtained by correlating the observers’ ratings with the combined self- and peer ratings.On average, the self ratings had correlation with peer ratings.Peer ratings had correlation
20Environmental CuesA separate team of coders examined and recorded the features of each room.Cue utilization and cue validity estimates were obtained by correlating these codings.Vector correlations between the cue-utilization correlations and the cue-validity correlations were computed.
21Sex and Race of Occupants Observer estimates of the sex and race of occupants were used to assess the mediational role of sex and race stereotypes on interobserver consensus and accuracy.
22Results – Study 1 - Offices Some traits are assessed more accurately than othersHigh vector correlations usually means higher accuracy and consensus
23Offices Results - Openness GOOD CUESMISUSED CUESBAD CUESMISSED CUES
33Results - Offices/Bedrooms comparison Accuracy correlations are usually higher in bedrooms than in officesCollege students are particularly prone to self expressionObservers are also college studentsOffice décor is often restricted by guidelinesIndividuals in offices are often concerned about projecting a positive imageBedrooms are richer environments than offices
34Results- stereotypesStereotypes did affect the observers!
35LimitationsOccupants may have tidied or altered their rooms before the assessment team arrivedOccupants may craft their environment to project specific impressions that they deem desirableA limited set of cues was used
36ConclusionThe research provides strong support for the assumption underlying this test: much can be learned about people from the spaces in which they dwell
37Other Papers by the Same Writer The do re mi's of everyday life: The structure and personality correlates of music preferencesPersonality impressions based on Facebook profilese-Perceptions: Personality impressions based on personal websitesDo people know how they behave? Self- reported act frequencies compared with on-line codings by observersFrom mice to men: what can we learn about personality from animal research?