Does Where We Live Determine Our Personality?


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We always hear things about how people from the west coast are laid back, how people from the northeast are uptight and how Midwesterners so friendly but are these things actually based on facts for are they just stereotypes? Researchers from the University of Cambridge the answer they aren't just stereotypes and geographical location really does determine personality.


These researchers from the University of Cambridge set out of analyze the personality traits of 1.6 million people throughout the US through the use of surveys, looking at Facebook, and other methods. The traits that they were looking at were "neuroticism, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness and extraversion" (HuffingtonPost).


After a 12-year time span the researchers concluded that our stereotypes were in fact not stereotypes at all. The people from the north-central and the South's most common traits were friendly and conventional. The Westerners were the most creative and relaxed, and the New Englanders were the most temperamental and uninhibited (HuffingtonPost).


Why are these traits so prevalent among the same regions of people? The answer may be simpler than you think. People who live in central USA and the south most likely have roots there because of selective migration. They live were they do because they chose to migrate there and are happy where they are or in other words the notion "that individuals selectively move to places that satisfy their needs" (HuffingtonPost). As for the westerners their laidback and creative ways can be traced back to "attitude related to frontier settlement from long ago" (HuffingtonPost). Also this area attracts a lot of people who migrate there to "purse educational and employment opportunities" usually of the creative variety. Last but not least folks from the North East with their temperamental and uninhibited ways may go back to the early history of the United States (HuffingtonPost). "' It is conceivable that over time, the normals and institutions established here have shaped the behavior and psychological characteristics of residents'" (HuffingtonPost).


There are so many different arguments for why people are the way and wheather it is within out control or not. No matter what your opinion is, it goes without saying that external factors play some part and regional location is just one of many.


Sources: 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/23/regional-differences-personalities-united-states-friendly_n_4137846.html?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living


5 Comments

This is definitely interesting and not something people think about when they are either with their friends who are from different regions but when they are visiting these regions as well. I am from Pennsylvania and everyone from here seems the same to me, which is what your blog is talking about. When I visit my aunt down in North Carolina, the day seems to drag on, they can go to the pool all day long and sit there or just hang out on their back porch and listen to the bugs at night. I agree that people move to different areas to satisfy their needs. I know several people who have moved to different states just for more job opportunities or because they're looking to get away from the attitude and living of the people in this area. I am definitely someone that is always on the go and cannot sit for long periods of time sitting on a porch but this adds to this side because there are people in regions where sitting on their front porch is the norm.

I very much enjoy this post, though I am biased. I am from the west coast and I like to think of myself as relaxed and laid back. I actually have gotten comments from east coast people about how they could definitely see that I was a Californian due to my low-key personality. This article also attributes these differences to historical influences.
http://science.time.com/2013/10/22/the-united-states-of-attitude-an-interactive-guide-to-americas-moods/
It says that people who migrated west were more likely to have open, curious temperments. It even says that the later the state joined, the higher they scored on the survey.

I was actually really surprised by this post. Right off the bat I thought that this post would just be another empty study that didn't account for everything and that in the end people really just acted these ways because they had given in to the stereotypes that each section of the country had been labeled for years now. But after reading the reasoning behind why each section acts the way they do I'm a bit more convinced. Then again, I could play devils advocate and say that being from the New York/New Jersey area I know a lot of people that fit the category of temperamental and uninhibited to a T, but then of those people I know many are just faking it to fit into the jersey/New York stereotype. So all in all while there is valid reasoning behind these personalities I don't think that completely voids out the idea of stereotypes playing a part in the determination.

While reading this entire blog, I was secretly laughing to myself. I'm from New Jersey and I understand how we could be "temperamental". It is common that people in New Jersey and New York are considered to have "road rage" and are not very friendly. Also a perfect example of how laid back and creative the west is California. Another factor that could contribute to personalities being determined by the region they live in is weather. It is commonly known that cold makes people aggravated and depressed, which could explain personality in the New England area.

I think that the data behind this study is pretty solid, although obviously not completely conclusive. However, I believe that there is another factor that should be taken into consideration, which is whether a person lives in the country or the city. I think that the surroundings have a huge impact on a person's personality. Much like the west differs from the northeast, I feel that the country is more laid back than the city, and for obvious reasons. Basically, I'm saying that people who live in a northeastern city act differently than those who live in a northeastern rural community. This article mentions personality traits that are generally more suited for different lifestyles.

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