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What does a clean or cluttered workspace say about you?




Larry Mantle's desk at KPCC's Mohn Broadcast Center in Pasadena.
Larry Mantle's desk at KPCC's Mohn Broadcast Center in Pasadena.
Michelle Lanz/KPCC
Larry Mantle's desk at KPCC's Mohn Broadcast Center in Pasadena.
AirTalk senior producer Joel Patterson's desk.
Michelle Lanz/KPCC
Larry Mantle's desk at KPCC's Mohn Broadcast Center in Pasadena.
AirTalk producer Karen Fritsche's desk.
Michelle Lanz/KPCC
Larry Mantle's desk at KPCC's Mohn Broadcast Center in Pasadena.
AirTalk producer Jasmin Tuffaha's desk.
Michelle Lanz/KPCC


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Is a messy desk a sign of genius or merely a sign of a messy desk? It’s probably somewhere in between, say researchers at the University of Minnesota.

According to new studies published in the journal Psychological Science, disorderly environments can represent a break from tradition, which can in turn inspire more creativity. But before you start throwing office files about, there are perks to being neat and orderly too.

It turns out people who keep their desks organized, are more likely to be charitable and to eat better. Why? Well, being in a clean room seemed to encourage people to do what was expected of them, explains psychological scientist Kathleen Vohs.

What else do our desks say about us? Can altering our environment, improve our performance? Will this data lead to greater understanding or spark bigger battles between co-workers with different styles?

Guest:

Kathleen Vohs, co-author of Carlson School study, Consumer Scientist and Professor of Marketing at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota