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“Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You” by Dr. Gosling


Items people purchase and the way they arrange them in their dwellings have long been considered instrumental in understanding a person’s identity. “Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You” centers around an experiment, which was performed by Dr. Gosling, a professor at the University of Texas. He believes that the atmosphere of a bedroom (or any other premise that has a personal touch) and every single detail in it can tell a lot about its owner. The author of the book refers to his study as “snooping research” to pinpoint that even minor hints that a room provides can drastically change the owner’s profile.

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Book Review

The hypothesis focuses on the idea that the environment (especially in premises) can provide insights into people’s traits of characters, beliefs, and systems of values. A special group of researchers (referred to as “snoopers”) sought to find certain objects in the environment that could offer extensive knowledge of people’s lifestyles and character. The environment has often been described as a vital tool, which shapes some of the people’s attitudes and perceptions. Nevertheless, scholars tend to focus on childhood experiences and relationships more. The current environment, given that now it is created by a person, is often undermined in such theories. The number of goods people purchase in modern affluent societies is enormous, as in most cases it does not correlate with their needs. Moreover, all these things directly influence people’s lifestyles and allow them to manifest any of their perceptions and views with the help of multiple symbols embodied in books, posters, and other items.

The environment a person creates based on his/her previous experiences directly influences everyday habits, thus, shaping the lifestyle. The amount of information generated every day in the modern world leads to a strange phenomenon. People generally do not like the abundance of data and even the great variety of choices. They tend to focus on a small number of interests, social roles, and patterns of behavior, which are most comfortable for them and which are accepted by the community they live in. Currently, people experience cyclic thinking daily, as search engines and major social networks continuously offer people only specific types of content based on the stereotypical vision. It leads to numerous problems with communication and mutual understanding within families, communities, and even a nation as a whole. That is why the book provided new approaches to understanding not only society’s perception of certain symbols and stereotypes but also the importance of the environment itself and the influence it has on people.

The researcher and his team studied 83 dorm rooms and nearly a hundred offices in banks, real estate firms, business schools, advertising agencies, and architecture studios (Gosling, 2008). Therefore, it was an experiment in which a group of enthusiasts intended to find out the type of personality which could consciously set up a certain kind of environment for himself/herself. It gave the snoopers and Dr. Gosling unprecedented experience, as multiple stereotypes failed to provide the right answers to questions concerning the type of personality, age, and even sex. Certain books, CDs, and posters provided the most obvious answers, as their presence usually meant that the person shares some of the theories and grand ideas associated with them. Thus, realizing the person’s political views was almost always an easy task. Nevertheless, more complex issues that are not as easy to manifest by buying certain objects, provided a puzzle. People are currently exposed to a lot of pressure, which comes from constantly changing behavior patterns, trends, and even ideals.

Interior design may influence a customer’s perceptions and willingness to spend money. Although prominent designers have extensive knowledge of how important certain colors and pieces of furniture are for attracting customers, few researchers have investigated the field and provided a full picture. One of the studies that were successful in such an undertaking states that “the design of physical surroundings affects customer behavior and purchase intention” (Orth et al., 2012, p. 195). The study sought to analyze the comprehensive framework behind a person’s desire to purchase items in a certain place.

Researchers went beyond the set of visual stimuli and examined other means that are widely used by various companies to lure customers. For instance, one of their findings is that “the design of architectural drawings and car interiors triggers human personality associations” (Orth et al., 2012, p. 195). The researchers used the approaches and procedures which are commonly accepted and widely used in design studies. Consumers were surveyed after visiting various types of environments with different kinds of stimuli. The interior designs had been evaluated by 21 graduate students in environmental design. The data was then compiled and processed, which allowed the company to make certain conclusions about the perceptions customers have. One of the findings can be useful for the creation of new types of environment, as it states that “customers infer impressions from specific visual details rather than whole configurations” (Orth et al., 2012, p. 199). The study as a whole supports the hypothesis, as it emphasizes the importance of every single item and pattern in which the items are arranged.

Attitudes towards some symbols are changing rapidly, and it is becoming increasingly hard to determine patterns of consumers’ preferences. Therefore, numerous studies in various spheres have been undertaken to clarify some of the consumer trends. For instance, Elliot and Barth (2012) state that millennials currently pay much more attention to the package features, such as name and image, than product features, such as producer and country‐of‐origin, when choosing wine. It may seem strange to pay less attention to the brand and the country, as they still correlate with the quality of the product. Nevertheless, young people nowadays tend to see most consumer products as a tool that helps them state who they are and their stance on certain social and political issues.

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The youth is eager to choose a brand that is spirited, up‐to‐date, and manifests values rather than social status. The methodology of the research consisted of two major parts: experimental design of wine label creations by millennial students of a university beverage management course; and a survey of over 400 millennial consumers (Elliot & Barth, 2012). The study supports the theory, as it illustrates the increasing importance of deep symbolism behind certain types of goods for modern consumers.


The book by Dr. Gosling provided important insights into the importance of people’s surroundings, the items they purchase, and the way they arrange them in their houses. While some of the stereotypes proved to be relevant, many others were of no use for analyzing the type of personality. The research described in the book also raises several issues concerning the rapidly changing consumer preferences and the shift in numerous symbols. Reading “Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You” alters the way one perceives living space and allows for a more comprehensive understanding of interior design and its significance.


Elliot, S., & Barth, J. J. (2012). Wine label design and personality preferences of millennials. Journal of Product & Brand Management 21(3), 183–191. Web.

Gosling, S. (2008). Snoop: What your stuff says about you. Profile Books.

Orth, U. R., Heinrich, F., & Malkewitz, K. (2012). Servicescape interior design and consumers’ personality impressions. Journal of Services Marketing, 26(3), 194–203. Web.

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