snoopbookcoverWonder what your handshake, music collection, or bedroom says about you? Or want to be able to tell a person’s personality from their living room? Test your snooping abilities here.

Psychologist Sam Gosling has written a wonderful book called Snoop. I was asked to review the book for New Scientist (full review here), but the basic idea is that you can tell a great deal about a person from their possessions, books, and living spaces. It makes for great reading and full of quirky stuff, including the fact that inspirational posters are a sign of emotional instability, neurotics use the words “I”, “me” and “my” more than most, and anxious people wear out their brakes pads very quickly. If you like Quirkology, you will love Snoop.

So, time to test your snooping abilities. Take a look at this room.


Now, without really thinking about it, answer the following questions about the occupant:

1) Male or female?

2) More associated with the arts or science?

3) Smoker or non-smoker?

Any other thoughts about them?

I will post the person’s identity next week.

Update: Answers here.


  1. 1) male
    2) science
    3) non-smoker

    Its a bay window so my hunch would be Victorian house. Furniture and writing table is expensive antique. Richard Dawkins maybe?…. hold on.. no cruxifixes.. nope got me. But you have given me a good idea

  2. Male, arts, smoker.

    But that was my first impression. A second thought very soon after was “science”, and I’m not sure why I thought “smoker”. Most people are non-smokers, so I should have gone with that.
    Plus it looks like a cool room, and smokers are not cool… 🙂

  3. Well that just about sums up humanity, we can all sleep soundly in the knowledge that one book has solved the enigma that we are.

  4. First of all the picture needs to be a bit larger because I can not tell what the statues are of, there fore I can not tell whether they are an artist or a scientist…… I can not make out what is on the tables….or the art work that is hanging on the walls… Those are generally what I use to snoop without “snooping”

    Having to guess without this info I’d say

    1)Male, Regards himself as an intellectual.
    2) Scientist that has respect for the arts.
    3)Non smoker – no ash trays. People think smoker because of the room’s deep colors, they look reminiscent of a pubs colors and pubs are smokey –
    PS the only feminine looking thing in the room is the copper water can on the floor. Also the furniture looks slender – So they must be on the smaller side.

  5. Male – I’m mostly just going with my intuition for this one, I think it has something to do with the furniture in particular and the statues of the heads.

    Arts – But more of the Fine art Appreciator – there are some classic sculptures and some older photos, and the organisation of the roon simply doesn’t seem to lend itself to a scientist. But I might be biased for this one, being an arts student myself.

    Non-smoker – the room is a bit too sealed for a smoker and no ash trays.

  6. I’m with the majority here: male, arts, non-smoker. Oh, and the place is haunted (note the orb.) Despite the “arts” label, though, and against all rational thought, I suddenly wondered if it were Dawkins’ house. If so, I’m headed for Florida for my million.

  7. Male, Science, Non-smoker.
    The person is organised, has a sense of curiosity, and although appears confident to most, has a small insecurity about themselves. Although they think they have a some sense of humour, some people tend to take them too seriously at times.

    That’s all I got from the room. Please don’t tell me it belongs to a Parrot instead.

  8. Female, arts, nonsmoker — having read Gladwell’s BLINK (though not yet SNOOP) I play such “unthinking impressions” games a lot, and that’s what popped up to me.

  9. Male – messed up chairs, Science – nothing creative/visually stimulating, Non-smoker – white walls, white lampshade, and rug present? maybe that is crazy talk!!!

  10. I am dead sure this room belongs to male, non smoker and science guy who has knowledge on arts and leans towards philosophy too. He is old guy and lives with family but wife probably is not allowed into this den? I am really curious now to know…

  11. male, artist, smoker,
    male coz masculine stuff around, plain curtains looks den like.
    artist coz chair designs, jug, painting on floor
    smoker coz pipe and or cigar case

  12. Male, arts, smoker.

    Ah, didn’t notice Stephen’s orb until his comment, but I get loads of those in my own home, they tend to be on curtains for some reason.

  13. Hi Richard,

    Fun thing you are doing here with Sam’s book. You don’t know me but my Sam Gosling writes about what we do at my architecture firm in the last chapter of Snoop. A couple of months ago he joined the Advisory Board for a small Internet startup at we are developing that takes our “emotional architecture” approach to designing living spaces to the Internet.

    I just thought you and your readers might be interested in an “applied” method for designing homes that are psychologically fitting.

    You can find more about neuroscience and psychology based “human centered” architectural design at or on my blog at

    With respect,
    Christopher K. Travis
    CEO – Nidiant Corporation
    Sentient Architecture, LLC

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