First off, anything dealing with the BBC's Sherlock gets points from me. (If you haven't seen it, you really should!)
But the real reason I love this article so much is that Sam Gosling (the social and personality psychologist from the University of Texas whose work the article is based on) really knows his stuff. And not only does he know what he is talking about, he communicates it very well
Human behavior is nuanced to say the least, but TV and movies have made us to believe that if you know what you are looking for, one small, simple indicator will tell us everything we need to know about a person. Sam points out that in order to truly read people, we have to look at context before coming up with any conclusions.
While the whole article is great, my favorite quote comes from his definition of "identity claims-"
"Identity claims are deliberate statements we make about our attitudes, goals, values, etc… One of the things that’s really important to keep in mind about identity statements is because these are deliberate, many people assume we are being manipulative with them and we’re being disingenuous, but I think there’s little evidence to suggest that that goes on. I think generally people really do want to be known. They’ll even do that at the expense of looking good. They’d rather be seen authentically then positively if it came down to that choice."
Those last three sentences!!!!! THAT is what I love about my job. Teaching people how to show themselves authentically AND positively. The two are not mutually exclusive!
Anyways, I recommend you read the full article (as well as the linked article 4 secrets to reading body language like an expert). Sam will teach you how to go through people's trash and other interesting ways to "read" the people you interact with.