Can the state you call home influence your most prominent personality traits? Science says yes, and these maps from Atlas Obscura show how.
It’s called “Geopsychology,” and it’s the study of regional differences across five distinct personality traits, often referred to by their acronym, CANOE:
- Neuroticism (aka, Emotional Stability)
Among all those variables, geographic location plays a significant role in their prevalence—that’s geopsychology! On these maps (click here), red means a certain personality trait is higher than average, while green means it’s lower than average. The darker the shade, the stronger the trait.
These personality traits are most common in Wisconsin:
Conscientiousness: Mixed Bag
High levels of conscientiousness display as a strong sense of duty, a high degree of discipline, and an intense desire to outperform expectations, according to Atlas Obscura. These are most common in people living in western Wisconsin—specifically the northwest region.
Low conscientiousness can manifest as being spontaneous and flexible, but also less orderly and reliable. That’s more common in eastern Wisconsin, especially in the northeast.
Agreeableness: Average to Very
People who are “agreeable” aim for social harmony and are prepared to compromise on their goals, according to Atlas Obscura. That’s most common near Eau Claire/La Crosse.
In the rest of the state, people aren’t disagreeable per say–they’re just not as go-with-the-flow.
Emotional Stability: Average to Very
To be emotionally stable, people are free from persistent negative emotions and have low levels of anxiety. Most of Wisconsin falls neither one way nor the other on this, with the exception being northwestern Wisconsin near the Twin Cities.
Openness: Not Very
A high degree of openness signals a willingness to try new things, and Wisconsin doesn’t have it. Like most of the midwest, with the exception of Chicago, Wisconsin has a decisively low degree of openness and primarily sticks to tradition.
Extraverts are “the life of the party,” according to Atlas Obscura, and that describes Wisconsinites in nearly every part of the state, with the exception of the far north.
Extraversion is common across most of the midwest (Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska), as well as the Rust Belt (Ohio, Pennsylvania) and in the South (Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.)
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