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Blink: Or What You Can Tell Just By Looking at Her Room

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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Blink: Or What You Can Tell Just By Looking at Her Room

So, I started reading Malcolm Gladwell's Blink because I couldn't find Outliers at the used book store and I refuse to pay full price for the Outliers at a new book store even though I'm in the market for a book to COMPLETELY CHANGE MY LIFE. I don't think that is going to happen with Blink, but I did learn an interesting tidbit or two.

In Blink, Gladwell BEATS US OVER THE FREAKIN' HEAD with the idea of trusting your instincts and taking heed in first impressions. He mentions that a lot can be said about a person just by scanning their bedroom. He proves his point by describing an experiment where the personality traits of 80 students were judged by their closest friends and complete strangers who scanned their dorm rooms for 15 minutes. What the mastermind of the experiment- psychologist Samuel Gosling- found is that the strangers did an equally successful job at describing people they never met.

How can this be? Well, Gosling says that "a person's bedroom gives three kinds of clues to his or her personality." Those clues are:
(taken directly from the book)

1.) Identity Claims- which are deliberate expressions about how we would like to be seen by the world (i.e framed copy of Magna Cum Laude degree from Harvard on the wall)

2.) Behavioral Residue- inadvertent clues we leave behind such as dirty laundry or what's in your CD collection.

3.) Thoughts and Feeling Regulators- changes me make to our most personal spaces to affect the way we feel when we inhabit them (candle, decorative pillows)

As I sat on my bed reading Blink, I began scanning my room and thinking about how I want to be viewed by the world. My eyes stopped on the mannequin head holding my collapsible top hat and Freddie Mercury reusable mustache and it was then I realized how I must look to the world.

Instead of a Harvard degree up on the wall, I have a homemade, eyeless Frank Zappa mask that awarded me an overall A+ in my college World Religion class. Instead of pictures from my college days with friends, I have my prized photos with David Byrne, Paul Reubens, and Jeff Goldblum. Instead of decorative pillows on my bed, I have a baby doll from Goodwill that I glued my leftover Halloween costume chest hair to its head and gouged its eyes in with a screwdriver (there is an explanation for this and actually revolves solely around a future blog post).

Because I've yet to own my own house, I have yet to see the importance in buying expensive furniture. I'm still at the age where I want to ability to bolt to anywhere at anytime without any sort of "stuff" holding me back. This is a mindset I need to change for it appears that I'm not leaving Austin anytime soon. Because I do not take pride in the furniture I own, I do put a lot of value on the mementos that sum up my life. Photos from trips, concert tickets, vintage pictures of my family, antique postcards, film festival badges, art projects, pictures of idols, and magazine cutouts.

What does your bedroom say about you?


At 8:56 AM, Blogger Ruthie said...

I like to think that my room says to the outsider, "She is a Spartan like in the movie 300". The walls are bare; my speedos and capes neatly hung up and unidirectional.

At 9:38 AM, Blogger theTsaritsa said...

Interesting stuff. After reading this post I surveyed my bedroom. I guess if someone who didn't know me were to look into it, they would probably think I'm a minimalist person with a touch of sentimentality (still sleep with my stuffed animals) and an appreciation of the macabre. Not bad.

At 11:01 AM, Blogger Teenysparkles said...

What if you share a bedroom? I share with my husband....actually his side is bare and side is cluttered but tidy. nuff said. Ta.

At 1:06 PM, Blogger Rahul said...

It's weird because I look at Malcolm Gladwell and think homeless person. He also says if you practice 10,000 hours at anything you can master it.

I'm a breathing master.

At 2:51 PM, Blogger andrea said...

I think my room says I like books and music and I am not a minimalist at all

At 1:48 AM, Blogger StrangeBird said...

That's a scary thought - because my bedroom is saying all the wrong things!! Overwhelmed, neglected, busy... I can't go on.

At 8:23 AM, Anonymous Skinny Dip said...

I think mementos and personal touches trumps expensive furniture any day. Your room looks like it belongs to someone I'd want to get to know.

I posted some shots of my bedroom on my blog recently too. I'm not sure what my bedroom says about me but, I'd probably say 'clean freak who is also a bit sentimental'


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