New York is for neurotics

national neuroticism map

Hey, look, we're at the tip of the "anxiety, anger and guilt" belt.

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.

(Thanks, Fred!)

map: Rentfrow, Gosling and Potter in Perspectives on Psychological Science


I'd like to believe that we here in the colonies are way more intelligent, which is why we're not blissfully ignorant like the rest of the country. I'd also like to believe that I am the proud owner of Albany's hottest buns.

I disagree. Just because the financial world is about to implode and our lives ruined, doesn't mean I have to go out and shout it from the rooftop of The Egg. Maybe that's just me I dunno. I'm confused its all so strange.

I knew Pantaloons was a hottie, I just knew it!!

I read an article today that said the #1 cause of depression among women was "not being able to touch Barold's abs of steel".

I thought that by using the name "Barold" people would not know my true identify - but it seems as if Pantaloons has figured it out.

I love Albany. Only place I've been where if only three people in the room have a panic attack, the night is a success!

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