Sam Gosling, Ph.D., is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. His work has been widely covered in the media, including The New York Times, Psychology Today, NPR, and "Good Morning America," and his research is featured in Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink." Gosling is the recipient of the American Psychological Association's Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution. His first book, Snoop, was a New Scientist Editor's Pick for top books of 2008. His most recent research has focused on how animal psychology can inform theories of human personality and social psychology.
Question: Are You a Closet Liberal?
Sam Gosling: I’d be very reluctant to give any specific thing- I mean, there are some things that make things- I mean, some of the things we draw on- so, for example, we know that the biggest relationship between political orientation and these personality traits is between the trait known as openness to experience. And so, it turns out that things like artistic materials, a broad variety of books, philosophy, original art- the combination of that and a slightly messy place- so that would tend to indicate somebody who’s more liberal than conservative, especially when combined with a space that tends to be more messy, they’re less organized, they’re less- they are less punctual, they can’t find stuff, they’re less prepared, they’re not thinking before they act, and so on. And so if you have that combination, that’s more likely to be a liberal than a conservative.
Recorded on: June 13, 2008.