Gene Expression

New Yorkers do need to see their analysts

A Theory of the Emergence, Persistence, and Expression of Geographic Variation in Psychological Characteristics:

Volumes of research show that people in different geographic regions differ psychologically. Most of that work converges on the conclusion that there are geographic differences in personality and values, but little attention has been paid to developing an integrative account of how those differences emerge, persist, and become expressed at the geographic level. Drawing from research in psychology and other social sciences, we present a theoretical account of the mechanisms through which geographic variation in psychological characteristics emerge and persist within regions, and we propose a model for conceptualizing the processes through which such characteristics become expressed in geographic social indicators. The proposed processes were examined in the context of theory and research on personality traits. Hypotheses derived from the model were tested using personality data from over half a million U.S. residents. Results provided preliminary support for the model, revealing clear patterns of regional variation across the U.S. and strong relationships between state-level personality and geographic indicators of crime, social capital, religiosity, political values, employment, and health. Overall, this work highlights the potential insights generated by including macrolevel perspectives within psychology and suggests new routes to bridging theory and research across several disciplines in the social sciences..

Nothing too surprising, but I’ve put the maps and most relevant data below the fold. If a correlation isn’t there, it is because it wasn’t statistically significant or below 0.20.

States by personality traitsi-bbe860f0916bc26680a412f70b61f665-opennesssmall.jpg

Correlations > 0.20 and statistically significant, controlling for median income, percentage of African Americans, percentage of females, percentage of residents with at least a college degree, and proportion of state population living in a city with one million or more residents
 
Extraversion Correlations at the State Level
Went to a club meeting .38
Went to a bar or tavern .33
% Healthcare practioners .24
   
Agreeableness Correlations at the State Level
Robbery per capita -.44
Murder per capita -.41
I spend a lot of time visiting friends .26
Entertained guests at home -.20
Went to a club meeting -.30
Attended church or other place
of worship
.22
Religion is an important part of my life .23
Life expectancy .38
   
Conscientiousness Correlations at the State Level
Religion is an important part of my life .31
Attended church or other place of worship .31
Exercised at home .28
Life expectancy -.27
   
Neuroticism Correlations at the State Level
Jogged -.27
Exercised at home -.40
% Dead from heart disease .43
% Dead from cancer .30
Life expectancy -.24
   
Openness to Experience Correlations at the State Level
The use of marijuana should be legalized .57
I am in favor of legalized abortions .30
I am in favor of legalizing same sex marriages .36
% Arts and entertainment .23
% Computer and mathematical .24
Patent production per capita .28
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

Comments

  1. #1 John Emerson
    September 15, 2008

    Once I see the correlations, I understand what is meant. But the labels for the categories are not quite right. “Extraversion”, for example, should be something like “community involvement”, and “Openness” should be something like “unconventionality” or “countercultureness” or “urban hipness”. And “conscientiousness”, as I guessed, means something like “guilt-ridden rule-following”.

  2. #2 Anders Sandberg
    September 15, 2008

    I ran the correlations with state GDP per capita, and got rather odd results:
    http://www.aleph.se/andart/archives/2008/09/openness_is_creative_but_does_it_earn_money.html
    It seems that extroversion correlated weakly positive with log GDP (0.16), agreeableness moderately (0.31), conscientiousness moderately (0.34), neuroticism weakly (0.13) and openness *negatively* (-0.26). Maybe I’m not controlling for something that should be controlled.

  3. #3 razib
    September 15, 2008

    conscientiousness moderately (0.34), neuroticism weakly (0.13) and openness *negatively* (-0.26). Maybe I’m not controlling for something that should be controlled.

    most people in states with a lot of openness are not producing patents ;-) i bet “open” states also have more inequality.

  4. #4 Coturnix
    September 15, 2008