The Architecture of Life: "Room Psychology" in Welt der Wunder

The Architecture of Life - Christopher K. Travis

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Room Psychology" in Welt der Wunder

Today, I got a copy of the newest issue of the German popular science magazine - Welt der Wunder (World of Wonder).

It includes a major article that cites two psychologists I admire - Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire in the UK and Sam Gosling of the University of Texas at Austin.

I open up the magazine, and there I am - the subject of an online experiment Dr. Wiseman asked me to participate in called "Room with a View." According the the article I am a "room psycholgist" with an "uncanny" ability to predict the character and personality of people by viewing their home environments.

Here's how it happened.

It all began when Wiseman tested a group of us - including me - by asking us to predict the personality and character of an unknown person whose office was shown in a single image. I learned later the picture was taken of the office of Sigmund Freud. Apparently I analyzed Freud's personality with some success because Richard Wiseman created the next experiment just for me.

Due to Sam G's ongoing promotion of my psychological approach to architecture, Richard Wiseman thought it would be interesting to see if my experience with clients made me a more expert Snoop than the average Joe on the street.

In the experiment he created, I was asked to guess the personality and character of four people by looking at a single image from their living areas - just as I had done with Freud. But this time they were people in the U.K. - gender unknown - who Richard asked to photograph their living rooms without changing them or cleaning them up.

I know I didn't get all of them right - but I must have done well because Richard Wiseman's experiment ended up part of a big spread in Welt der Wunder called The Secret Code of Human Knowledge. Sam's research rightly got more text - but my poor mug and the pictures of the rooms I analyzed took up most of two pages.

Just goes to show there is no justice. The real "room psychologist" is Sam Gosling. I am just a guy that gets inside people's head to figure out how to design homes that fit who they are.

Oh well, sometimes the gods of fame are capricous...


Liz said...

Hi Christopher, I just stumbled across your blog...I was one of the 4 participants in the Room With A Cue project. Richard just sent my mag. We've gotten a good laugh at the office over the whole project. It was fun. Thank you so much for your insight and additional information regarding your involvement!!