Wednesday, September 17, 2008

North Dakota is where the nicest people live

New Yorkers are neurotic and unfriendly, says Cambridge University 'personality map'

New York is home to the most neurotic and unfriendly people in American while North Dakota is where the nicest people live, according to a Cambridge University "personality map" of the USA.

Thanks to Clint from the Bismarck-Mandan Blog for pointing me to this.

Researchers created the first ever map of its kind is based on the results of a six year online survey of 620,000 people.

They claim it reveals how certain types of people are more likely to live and flourish in different parts of the country and showed links between personality traits and social phenomenon, like crime rates.

American-born Dr Jason Rentfrow, lecturer in social and political sciences at the University of Cambridge, led the study.

He is from Louisiana where, according to his work, people are friendly but have high stress levels.

He said: "Although these are preliminary findings and require more evaluation, they did throw up some striking geographical trends.

"We did find pretty clear signs that there are meaningful differences in the personalities of people living in different areas of the United States.

"What is particularly impressive is that the results show the effects of personality on people's social habits, values and lifestyles are so pronounced that they have an impact on much bigger social forces."

The findings show that people living in eastern states such as New York are likely to be anxious, stressed, impulsive and prone to heart disease and cancer.

Religious fervour is most prevalent in states such as Kansas, Florida, Arizona, Missouri and Utah, where residents mostly exhibit the conscientious personality trait.

Rates of robbery and murder are highest in states populated by people with the openness personality trait such as Columbia, New York, Oregon, and California.

However, the openness trait also encourages curiosity, creativeness and people living in these states have the most liberal, tolerant values on marijuana, abortion and gay marriage.

The nicest Americans, who share the agreeableness personality trait and are said to be warm, co-operative and friendly, are from States such as North Dakota, North Carolina and Georgia.

The survey asked people from the US to read 44 short statements such as "I see myself as someone who is very religious" and mark their level of agreement on a scale of one to five.

The impact of personality traits was then matched with social trends such as religiosity, health, crime, employment and tolerance.

The results revealed clear patterns of personalities - neuroticism is highest in the east along a line stretching from Maine to Louisiana - the "stress belt".

The report, "The Geography Of Personality; A Theory of the Emergence, Persistence and Expression of Geographic Variation in Basic Traits" is published in the journal, Perspectives On Psychological Science.