Max Lugavere

Max Lugavere

The Optimalist

How Our Spaces Shape Our Thoughts

Our environment can have a profound effect on our thoughts. Watch where you sit.

Posted Sep 27, 2012

A recent study out of the University of Waterloo, in Canada, confirms our suspicions that our emotional states are strongly influenced by our surroundings. Sure as awe-inducing vistas can inspire creative thought, so too can environments that are less peachy provoke similar feelings. In this particular experiment, individuals who sat at a wobbly chair and table predicted that celebrity couples were more likely to dissolve than people evaluating the same relationships but using stable furniture. When asked to describe what values they admire in a relationship, those individuals that sat at wobbly furniture prioritized stability-promoting traits, like reliability, over instability-promoting traits, like spontaneity, to a greater extent than those who sat at stable furniture.

This study sheds light on an important but often overlooked psychological truth: our environment can have a profound effect on the quality of our thoughts—in ways we have yet to even measure—so we should be discerning and curate them accordingly.

You may be wondering, can an analogy be drawn for those living upon wobbly earth? Are notoriously short-lived Hollywood relationships the very product of being born of a land prone to seismic instability?

Doubtful. But it would be a nice excuse.

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