A few months ago we posted a map that identified the NY/CT/MA area as a hot spot for neuroticism. Well, there's new research out this week that not only confirms that map, it conveniently ranks just how neurotic people in New York are (among other things) compared to people in other states.
Here's how New York stacks up against other states on each of the "Big Five" personality traits...
#2 in Openness to Experience
#3 in Neuroticism
#32 in Extraversion
#42 in Conscientiousness
#47 in Agreeableness
Those rankings are from a paper titled "A Theory of the Emergence, Persistence, and Expression of Geographic Variation in Psychological Characteristics" in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science.
OK, so why are people in New York so, um, weird and unagreeable? The authors write that regional variations in personality are probably related to three factors:
+ People move to areas where their inherent traits will help them make a living (e.g., an artist moves to an area where people are open to different forms of art).
+ The people around us have an influence on our personality. Sure, you may not be neurotic now, but spend a few years surrounded by a bunch of people who are and it may start to rub off on you.
+ The environment also plays a role. For example, people in areas that don't get a lot of sunlight during the winter tend to have higher levels of depression.
So, maybe it's not just you.
And maybe this helps explain why, as we've heard anecdotally, it's hard to find a therapist with an open slot in the Capital Region.
The Wall Street Journal has more on this study, including some interactive maps of the data.
map: Rentfrow, Gosling and Potter in Perspectives on Psychological Science