Does Your Personality Shape Your Location Or Vice Versa?

A study combining regional political, social, economic and health data with responses from various personality surveys showed that parts of the US can indeed be said to have distinct temperaments.

What's the Latest Development?

Apparently there may be a scientific basis for the concepts of "Minnesota nice" and "Southern hospitality": A study published in the American Psychological Association's Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests that enough Americans with similar temperaments live near each other that parts of the country can be said to have distinct "personalities." For example, most states with a high percentage of "conventional and friendly" residents are in the north-central Great Plains and the South, while the West is dominated by states full of "relaxed and creative" people.

What's the Big Idea?

Cambridge University researcher and study lead author Peter J. Rentfrow says, "This analysis challenges the standard methods of dividing up the country on the basis of economic factors, voting patterns, cultural stereotypes or geography...[while at] the same time, it reinforces some of the traditional beliefs that some areas of the country are friendlier than others, while some are more creative." Some theories behind the findings are based on past research. These include the likelihood that people who stay in or near their hometowns tend to be friendlier, and that those who migrate to creative areas are driven by a kind of frontier mentality.

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