Friday Funny: Your Workspace Reveals Your Politics

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While this Friday Funny isn’t uproariously funny, it is so topical and intriguing that I couldn’t resist sharing it. According to a story from LiveScience.com Senior Writer Jenna Bryner, cubicle or office decor says a lot about the left or right leaning tendencies of employees.

A study by John Jost, a psychologist from New York University claims that conservatives go for the neat and tidy look while liberals prefer their decor to be a bit more of the carefree and cluttered. The full results from the study will be presented in an upcoming issue of Political Psychology.

Bryner notes, “A person may hide their political ideology from others, including from pollsters, but the researchers were delighted to learn that a peek into subjects’ living quarters or even workspaces could give that away. Conservatives and liberals leave behind distinct ‘behavioral residue’ that can be picked up by savvy scientists and possibly other observers.”

Bryner explains how the study was conducted.

The researchers took inventory of five office locations—a commercial real estate agency, an advertising agency, a business school, an architectural firm, and a retail bank—all in a large U.S. city. They had observers check out the workspaces of 94 male and female employees. The subjects’ average age was 37.

The snoopers had no idea of the workers’ political orientation. Political orientation was measured with survey questions.

Liberals’ offices were judged as significantly more distinctive, comfortable, stylish, modern, and colorful and as less conventional and ordinary, in comparison with conservatives’ offices, Jost said.

The findings agreed with a link found by Jost’s team between two personality traits and political ideology. In personality tests of thousands of college students, Jost found that liberals tended to score higher than conservatives on one key measure called openness to experiences, which includes holding wide interests, and being imaginative and insightful.

Conservatives showed higher scores for conscientiousness, which measures a person’s need for order, discipline, achievement striving and rule following.

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2 Responses
  1. Luke says:

    Just a note, the liberal work area could judt as easily of been discribed as gaudy, with blazing colors and abnormally over the top decor. I guess it is all a matter of perspective, the perspective offered in the study shows the authors political leanings as surely as this comment reveals mine.

  2. Sandy says:

    The exact opposite is true in the architectural firm where I work.

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