Photo courtesy ashley hayes b a 10 who shared her engagement story he already had the ring for me and planned to propose after football season but just
University of texas at austin
The Psychology Of Home Decor Ut News The University Of Texas

The Psychology Of Home Decor Ut News The University Of Texas The Psychology Of Home Decor Ut News The University Of Texas

* The top level of the Manor Garage “great view of downtown Austin at night.”

“After talking for a while, Dan invited me to be his date to Bill’s wedding, which was held at the UT Alumni center. At the reception, we went for a walk outside and had our first kiss right by the Bevo statue. After three years of long-distance dating and five total years of dating, we got married on July 5, 2013. I now teach in the math department at UT, and we’re hoping to stay in Austin for a long time.”

“[My husband and I] started dating in 2010 during Texas-OU weekend and knew pretty quickly that there would be wedding bells in our future. On April 15, 2012, we went to the Tejas House where we had first met years ago, and suddenly several of the Tejas Braves circled around me, just as they do on March 2 for Texas Independence Day  a fun campus tradition where the Braves wear suits to campus, find unsuspecting ladies, sing ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,’ and hand them a yellow rose. But this time, they all had red roses, and Kyle got down on one knee with shiny diamonds! Kyle and I have both stayed very involved in campus life, and we hope to one day send our kids to the best university in Texas.”

“Scott proposed in what was then CBA 3.214 during a Business Council meeting my senior year in February of 1997. We were married in 1998 and are very happily married, raising three little Longhorns. My great-aunt and great-uncle also became engaged on the UT campus. Gerry proposed to Lou behind Littlefield fountain. They were married for 40+ years.”

Note to lovebirds: please choose non-vandalization methods to woo your sweetheart. 

“My wife Teena and I fell in love at UT in the Spring of 2002, when I was a freshman at the University of North Texas and she was a freshman at UT. I transferred to UT the next fall. One night in the spring of 2003, I carved our names into one of the railings around the East Mall Fountain while waiting for the Wickersham Lane shuttle bus. Someone walked by and asked me if I was ‘making my mark’ and I answered yes. We both graduated in 2005, and now we live in Tulsa, Okla. I proposed at the Driskill Hotel in July of 2011 the original plan was to propose at the East Mall Fountain, but it was closed that day due to construction. We visit Austin about once a year and we always spend some time walking through campus. Needless to say, UT made its mark on us, too.”

In collaboration with Sam Gosling, professor of psychology and author of “Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You,” Graham and her team of student researchers will leave no knickknack unturned as they search for signs of a happy home or possibly trouble in paradise.

We have noticed that photos seem to be quite important in spaces. Couples seem to be all or nothing meaning that they tend to either have no photos at all or lots of them. We are looking forward to learning about what the presence or absence of photos says about how couples relate to one another.

One interesting finding from our work in virtual spaces is that although the expression of personality is present, the impressions are not always valid. Most virtual spaces are “hybrid spaces” meaning much of our online social network overlaps with our offline social network (i.e., many of your Facebook friends are people you have actually encountered and interacted with in your offline life).

The love-struck commenters at /r/UTAustin compiled the most romantic spots on campus. A few of their suggestions:

Photo courtesy Ashley Hayes, B.A.’10, who shared her engagement story: “He already had the ring for me and planned to propose after football season but just couldn’t wait. So in the miserable hot sticky August weather, we dressed up in burnt orange and went to the tower.

I honestly knew it was coming! Sure enough, he proposed in the middle of the main mall, right in front of the tower. My sister, also a UT grad, took pictures from afar, hiding, until I said yes and then she rushed up to capture the moment!” 

“Me and Justin met our freshman year in 2008 when we tried out for the marching band together. We became best friends very fast and in 2011 we started dating. We are still happily together. This past fall we attended our first Longhorn Band Alumni game and we are excited to go every year. We couldn’t be more proud of our time at UT, and we are very thankful for meeting at school and falling in love.”

 Betsy Roche, senior English student, and Colin Christ, B.S. ’13

We recently caught up with Graham to talk about her preliminary findings. Read on to learn more about her study and why common household arrangements provide some startling insight into a couple’s relationship status.

However, there are certain environments like the online role-play game World of Warcraft where you may have no expectation of ever meeting the other people you are interacting with virtually. It seems that in this particular environment, the impressions of others are less accurate and people are more flexible in the ways they express their true personalities.

And here is our Valentine’s gift to you – new Facebook cover images, free for you to download and share. (Click each image to get the full size.)

Surprisingly, very little is known about how couples create a shared space together. How do couples make decisions about the design of their home? Whose stuff goes where? How do they create an environment they both love? These are the sorts of questions Sam Gosling and I are hoping to answer in our latest study looking at the expression of couples’ personalities in their homes.

The New York Times Walking the Tightrope of Workspace Decor (Sept.16)

Murray Shapiro, B.S. ’04, pops the question to Erica Rosentraub, B.A. ’04 

First, we enter the room and take photographs of the space. We take 360-degree photos (to get a feel for the room as a whole), and we take close-range shots of everything so we can see all of the interesting details, like titles of books and CDs, what the photographs look like, etc. Next, our team of coders fill out surveys describing their overall impressions of the space in terms of ambiance (how cozy, colorful and decorated it is) and the emotions they feel the space conveys (e.g., romance, relaxation). The coders also systematically document the physical features of the space (type of flooring, windows, wall colors) and the items (photographs, flowers, clocks, etc.).

Home environments are very important to people, meeting both their practical and psychological needs. One common challenge that many new couples face is deciding how to integrate their individual possessions and preferences into a shared space where they can both feel “at home.” Sometimes this process goes smoothly; sometimes it does not.

Extroverts will often have a well-lit office with a comfortable chair and some candies for the taking while introverts might have a darker office, fewer, less comfortable chairs and no snacks, said Sam Gosling, associate professor of psychology at the University of Texas and author of the forthcoming book “Snoop: The Secret Language of Stuff.” Studies show that the impressions we get from looking at someone’s office are often correct, Professor Gosling said. He studied strangers’ impressions of faculty members’ offices as they related to personality traits including extroversion, conscientiousness and openness, and found that these qualities could be discerned. Conscientiousness was easiest to detect. “Things like an organized book collection, the calendar on the wall being filled out, pencils sharpened, gave an accurate impression of that trait,” said Mr. Gosling.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, this week we’re celebrating love at UT. We’ve gathered alumni and student love stories (including two proposals caught on camera), the best campus date spots and a roundup of love-themed research. Because, as the saying goes, smart is sexy.

“He went to Texas AandM (don’t judge!), but we were both part of Hillel on our campuses. Texas Hillel hosted Shabbat 1000 at the Student Union, inviting students from Hillels around South Texas. At the start of dinner, there was a fire drill in the Union! We all had to evacuate to the West Mall. I saw my friend Jason Scheib standing next to my now-husband Eric Rubin. I asked Jason to introduce us, and the rest is history. I knew he loved me when he took me to the Texas at UCLA football game a month after we got married.”

“We dated a year and he proposed at the top of the UT Tower on March 26, 2011! We just celebrated two years married and had our first baby in August (definitely a future Longhorn)!”

“I met my husband as we both ran on UT’s intramural marathon team in ’03 while training for the ’04 marathon. We are still running after each other and now our two children! Love and Hook ’em!”

 Emily Garrison-Grigsby (B.S.N. ’04, M.S.N. ’07) and Will Grigsby (Ph.D. ’08)

“My husband and I met on the UT campus in the fall of 1967. He was a sophomore living in Brackenridge. I was a freshman, living in Littlefield. There was a mixer at the very beginning of the fall semester at Littlefield, and the guys from Brackenridge were invited. I decided to go (even though my roommate demurred). When I went into the living room where the mixer was being held, I saw another girl I knew talking to two guys. So, I went over and introduced myself. One of those guys was Jim. He and I chatted for a while, then he invited me to the next football game. Two years later (1969) we got married. One daughter (B.S. ’01) and 44 years later, we’re still married! Jim says the invitation to the mixer said there’d be food. When the guys got there, the “food” was Popsicles! He says, ‘I went for food and I got you!’

A version of this story originally appeared on Life and Letters.

* A Couple’s Home May Provide Startling Insight into the Relationship

“I was a graduate student in music and human learning, and my wife was an undergrad English student with a minor in Asian Studies. We worked together at the Starbucks on 24th and Nueces. Not long after she was transferred to my store, I asked her out on a date. We used to meet up for lunch at the stadium twice a week we loved Hat Creek Burger so much that we requested their food truck deliver handmade burgers to guests at our wedding!”

* Robotic Frogs Transform Boring Mating Call into a Serenade

This is a question we hope to address. Anecdotal evidence suggests it is important for both couples to have at least some area that they can call their own, but we won’t know for sure until we have some data.

Briefly describe your current research with couples’ living spaces.

What does a “man cave” say about the quality of a couple’s relationship?

“With many of Sadie’s friends in town for the game, tickets in hand and ring in pocket, we made our way to Darrell K Royal Stadium. When the band started playing ‘The Eyes of Texas’ (five minutes before Matt had anticipated), it took just a bit of scrambling on his part to tell Sadie how much he loved her, find the ring buried deep in Matt’s pocket and bare down on one knee. Before she knew what happened and it took her a while, as she was so confused about all of this stimuli she had gladly said ‘Yes!’ Shortly after the proposal Matt was accepted and offered a fellowship to UT’s LBJ school where he graduated in May 2013. They were married 9/10/11 (yes, during a UT football game) in Kansas City, Mo., with burnt orange bridesmaids.”

“Murray suggested that we take a picture in front of the UT Tower (which is also my favorite spot on campus!) He deftly set up a camera and tripod before coming to join me for the picture. It was then that he asked me to marry him on the very campus where we met nine years earlier. It could not have been a more perfect moment. Now, when I see photos of the iconic tower, I am imbued with immense pride as that was where I celebrated graduating from UT, as well as immense love, as that was the same place where one question changed our lives forever. Hook ’em, and Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Each of the items you display in your spaces can potentially broadcast something about your identity, or how you think, feel and act in everyday life. Some items owe their presence to making “identity claims” that is, sending deliberate signals about your values, goals, preferences, etc. to others.

Other items give clues because they reflect your behaviors so the arrangement of space might be quite different for extraverts who have crafted their living room to afford entertaining others versus spaces belonging to introverts who have designed a space where they can quietly curl up on the couch together and read a book. Each clue is another piece of a puzzle that together reveals a lot about the occupants and the kinds of lives they live.

And a note about my roommate who wouldn’t go to the mixer: after Jim and I started dating, we introduced her to one of his friends from Brackenridge Dorm. They got married in the fall of 1968 and, several kids later, are still married!”

A good example might be a religious person displaying religious icons or an avid sports fan displaying emblems of their favorite teams. Other items in the space are designed to make you feel a certain way, so you might display photos of a beach where you had a great vacation to remind yourself of the happy times you had there, or a memento given to you by a dear relative.

The University of Texas at Austin is one of the world’s leading research universities, populated by some mind-blowingly smart and accomplished scholars. But that doesn’t mean we’re not in tune with matters of the heart as much as the mind.

“As members of Alpha Phi Omega, we’ve had great times running the world’s largest Texas flag with our friends, taking pictures with Bevo, and getting our horns up. We both love UT nearly as much as we love each other!”

Take a look at your bedroom. Is it scattered with laundry? Adorned with photos? Are you only leaving a sliver of space in the closet for your partner’s clothes? These seemingly mundane domestic scenarios may reveal a surprising amount of information about a couple’s relationship, according to a forthcoming study led by Lindsay Graham, a psychology graduate student in the College of Liberal Arts.

How can something as simple as pictures on a wall give away clues to who we are and what’s important to us?

“I met my husband, Matt McCullough, in the Longhorn Band in 1988. Each year we both returned for the Longhorn Alumni Band football game, and in 1993 we began dating after this event. In 1994, Matt had an engagement written into the halftime show in which we were marching. This is the only engagement that has been written into a LHB or LHAB show. We will be spending our 20th anniversary with the Longhorn Alumni Band in England performing in the New Year’s Day parade with LHAB! My life is fantastic today because of going to UT, joining the band and meeting my awesome husband!!”

Although you’re only in the preliminary phase of your fieldwork, have you come across any surprising findings?

In addition, we are also interested in the characteristics and behaviors of the homeowners. So the occupants complete a set of surveys about themselves and their partners. The surveys include questions about the type of impression they wish their space portrays to others and the emotions they want to express in it.

You also study virtual personalities, particularly among gamers. Do you see a common denominator in how people portray their personalities in their real-life and virtual spaces? Any differences?

* The Blanton Museum of Art free for UT students, staff and faculty

* Butler School of Music classical concerts, like this Valentine’s Day show

We know from our work that people express aspects of themselves and their personalities in the environments they inhabit whether that’s in physical spaces like your home and office, or virtual spaces like your Facebook profile or online gaming environments.

 Linda McReynolds McCullough, BBA ’90 and Matt McCullough, B.A. ’93

We document only the things that are visible so we never open up closed drawers or cabinets. This whole process takes anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes, depending on how much stuff the couple has in the space.

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