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What your cu­bi­cle says about you.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIFESTYLE - By WIL­LIAM HAGE­MAN By IAN SAM­PLE

YOU stop by a co-worker’s cu­bi­cle, need­ing to dis­cuss a mat­ter of great ur­gency. That quar­terly re­port that’s due next week, or de­tails of a project on which the com­pany’s fu­ture hinges.

Yet you can­not con­cen­trate on the dis­cus­sion be­cause you are dis­tracted – your co­hort’s cu­bi­cle is dec­o­rated with dozens and dozens of pho­tos of Chi­huahuas. Chi­huahuas in tiny hats. Chi­huahuas wear­ing tiny se­quined vests. Chi­huahuas with tiny smiles.

You can­not con­tinue. You re­treat to your cu­bi­cle, and plop your­self down amid your col­lec­tion of Teenage Mu­tant Ninja Tur­tles ac­tion fig­ures.

Why do peo­ple sur­round them­selves with this stuff?

We asked Bar­bara Tako, an or­gan­is­ing whirl­wind and author of Clut­ter Clear­ing Choices: Clear Clut­ter, Or­ga­nize Your Home, & Re­claim Your Life. She knows junk. But she says cu­bi­cles are im­por­tant as ex­ten­sions of a per­son’s per­son­al­ity.

“I think peo­ple are more pro­duc­tive when their en­vi­ron­ment nur­tures them, sup­ports them, re­stores them, en­er­gises them,” she says, an ex­pla­na­tion of why that guy across the aisle dis­plays a dozen bowl­ing tro­phies.

Author Mil Milling­ton agrees: “With cubi-

Cu­bi­cles and the way peo­ple dress them up are ex­ten­sions of a per­son’s per­son­al­ity, and there’s also a good mea­sure of ter­ri­to­ri­al­ity in­volved with those in­di­vid­ual work ar­eas. cles, you’re given the bleak­est, most soulerod­ing thing imag­in­able, which you then come to iden­tify with and take on as an ex­ten­sion of your­self.

“It’s as if ev­ery Tues­day the com­pany hit you across the back of the head with a gar­den tool, and, af­ter six months, you start bring­ing in your own shovel.”

He pointed out that there’s a good mea­sure of ter­ri­to­ri­al­ity in­volved with cubes, and “be­cause a pri­mae­val but­ton is be­ing pushed, the most easy-go­ing peo­ple will find them­selves swelling with in­ner fury if a col­league drops by and rests half a but­tock SCI­EN­TISTS have con­firmed what many pet own­ers have long sus­pected – some dogs have a more gloomy out­look on life than oth­ers.

The un­usual in­sight into ca­nine psy­chol­ogy emerged from a study by Bris­tol Uni­ver­sity re­searchers into how dogs be­have when sep­a­rated from their own­ers.

Dogs that were gen­er­ally calm when left alone were also found to have a “dog bowl half full” at­ti­tude to life, while those that barked, re­lieved them­selves and de­stroyed fur­ni­ture ap­peared to be more pes­simistic, the study con­cluded.

Michael Mendl, head of an­i­mal wel­fare and be­hav­iour at the uni­ver­sity, said the more anx­iously a dog be­haved on be­ing parted from its owner, the more gloomy its out­look ap­peared to be.

The find­ings sug­gest that the trou­ble caused by some dogs when they are left alone may re­flect deeper emo­tional prob­lems that could be treated with be­havioural ther­apy.

“Own­ers vary in how they per­ceive this kind of anx­ious be­hav­iour in dogs. Some are very concerned, some re­lin­quish the dog to a refuge, but oth­ers think the dog is happy or even be­ing in­ten­tion­ally spite­ful,” Mendl told the Guardian.

“At least some of these dogs may have emo­tional is­sues and we would en­cour­age own­ers to talk to their vets about po­ten­tial treat­ments,” he added.

Mendl’s team stud­ied 24 an­i­mals at two dog homes in the UK. The dogs, half of which were male, were var­i­ous breeds, in­clud­ing Stafford­shire bull ter­ri­ers, golden re­triev­ers and col­lies. They ranged from nine months to nine years old.

Re­searchers be­gan the study by go­ing to a room with each dog in turn and play­ing for 20 min­utes. They re­turned the next day, but on their desk or starts jig­gling their mouse.

“Once, some­one I worked with threw his half-eaten sandwich into my waste bas­ket. I didn’t say any­thing at the time, but, when the op­por­tu­nity arose some months later, I set fire to his car.” – Chicago Tribune/ McClatchy-Tribune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices

Some dogs have emo­tional is­sues and their own­ers should talk to the vet about ther­apy. this time left the dog alone for five min­utes, dur­ing which the sci­en­tists recorded the an­i­mal’s be­hav­iour with a video cam­era. The footage was used to give each dog an anx­i­ety score.

A day or two later, the dogs were trained to walk over to a food bowl that was full when placed at one end of a room, and empty when placed at the other. When the dogs had learned the dif­fer­ence, the sci­en­tists tested the an­i­mals’ un­der­ly­ing mood by plac­ing bowls in am­bigu­ous po­si­tions – in the mid­dle of the room, for ex­am­ple – and not­ing how quickly each dog went to the bowl.

The dogs that had been most anx­ious in the ear­lier test were slow­est to ap­proach food bowls placed in or near the mid­dle of the room, sug­gest­ing they ex­pected to find the bowl empty. The less anx­ious dogs ran to the food bowls, im­ply­ing they were more op­ti­misitc, ac­cord­ing to a re­port in Cur­rent Bi­ol­ogy.

“We know that peo­ple’s emo­tional states af­fect their judge­ments and that happy peo­ple are more likely to judge an am­bigu­ous sit­u­a­tion pos­i­tively,” Mendl said. “What our study has shown is that this ap­plies sim­i­larly to dogs – that a ‘glass half full’ dog is less likely to be anx­ious when left alone than one with a more ‘pes­simistic’ na­ture.” – Guardian News & Me­dia 2010

Decked out:

Moody blues:

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