Where You Live in The US Is Linked to Certain Personality Traits, Study Finds

Residing at larger altitudes in the US may perhaps shape your psychology in strange methods, a new review reveals, exhibiting a unique backlink concerning dwelling in elevated, mountainous locations and specific character traits.


Not only that, but the sorts of traits mountain-dwellers display are very unique, scientists say, rooted in the pioneer history of the Outdated West, and revealing residual psychological traces of the American frontier frame of mind and sensibilities.

“The harsh and distant atmosphere of mountainous frontier locations traditionally captivated nonconformist settlers strongly determined by a sense of freedom,” states psychologist Friedrich Götz the University of Cambridge in the British isles.

“These traits may perhaps have distilled around time into an individualism characterised by toughness and self-reliance that lies at the heart of the American frontier ethos.”

To identify prospective back links concerning physical topography and human character throughout the US, the scientists analysed info from the Gosling-Potter World-wide-web Personality Task: a huge-scale ongoing on-line survey of character info, which started back again in 1999, and was devised by users of Götz’s workforce.

The test seeks to measure what are known as the ‘Big Five’ character traits – openness to encounter, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

Working with the huge Gosling-Potter databases, which millions of American volunteers have now contributed to, the scientists examined the back links concerning around three.three million of the survey responses and the zip codes (US postal codes) of the respondents.


They uncovered that people today who lived in mountainous locations scored lessen on agreeableness, extroversion, neuroticism, and conscientiousness, but larger on openness to encounter – conforming with hypotheses proposing that the ecologically complicated ailments of mountain wilderness could possibly catch the attention of and retain people today with specific psychological predispositions, the two back again in the days of the Wild West, and now.

“These kinds of rugged terrain possible favoured individuals who closely guarded their assets and distrusted strangers, as nicely as individuals who engaged in risky explorations to protected food and territory,” Götz states.

“When we search at character throughout the entire United States, we discover that mountainous residents are additional possible to have psychological attributes indicative of this frontier mentality.”

In accordance to the info – gleaned entirely from people’s very own voluntary self-reports – residents of mountainous areas are inclined to be less trusting, caring, and forgiving than people today from flatter areas, although remaining additional rebellious, detached, and assertive.

The magnitude of the variations is over-all very little, the scientists admit, but even now sizeable, provided complicated psychological phenomena like a person’s character can be influenced by 1000’s of authentic-world elements, and physical topography is just a person of them.


The scientists also feel, irrespective of the proof for the frontier frame of mind in mountainous areas even now, the mountain atmosphere of currently is of study course extremely different to what it would have been like in true frontier moments, provided the manifold progress in transportation and engineering, not to mention the consequences of populace progress. Even so, some of the old hardships seem to keep on being.

“These findings suggest that the mountains are even now an isolating terrain with formidable limitations to numerous areas of lifetime and, even if humankind has managed to conquer them in numerous respects, they keep on being a defining factor of one’s physical surroundings that impacts character,” the authors clarify in their paper.

Which is just not to say that all mountains are necessarily equivalent in conditions of their isolation and formidableness.

When the workforce compared mountain-dwellers from the japanese US to individuals of the western US, they uncovered a range of variations, like that the marriage concerning mountainousness and openness to encounter was ten moments larger in the west than in the east.

This, the workforce states, is proof of other elements at enjoy past mountainous topography, this kind of as the sociocultural norms of frontier lifestyle, which is uncovered only in the west, not in the east.

These kinds of cultural narratives, the scientists clarify, are ultimately much better in predicting character than ecological capabilities like mountains – no subject how magnificent, complicated, or wild they may perhaps be.

The findings are documented in Nature Human Conduct.