What would a stranger think of you if they examined every item you own? That's the burning question for University of Texas social psychologist Samuel Gosling, PhD. Gosling, the author of Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You,
enters a person's home or office, notes all items present, and, based on his findings, completes a "personality inventory," assessing traits like agreeableness and neuroticism. A desk with a dozen framed family pictures might suggest that you value home life—"but are the photos facing inward (for your enjoyment) or outward (to convey a message to others)?" Gosling asks. Snooping may not be an exact science, but certain truths are well documented. For example: "People assume—always—that you're a nicer person if your space is clean."