Society Magazine

Where Do You Come From? And Who Are You?

Posted on the 23 October 2013 by Thecurlycasualista @curlycasualista
The disparities in personality based on location never was something I tangentially knew about, but never really noticed experienced prior to coming to DC. Born and raised in New England, I very rarely spent any time outside of it until I was 22. Everyone was the same. Even in college, people tended to be from very similar backgrounds. BU pulls heavily from the Northeast and California. We're aloof, even when we're social. We do things quickly, efficiently, and we may not seem like we're relaxed (even if we are). We may seem disagreeable, but really we're going about our business as quickly as possible. It's not really a "stop and smell the roses" lifestyle. And that's totally normal to anyone who is from there.

But arriving in the south, I discovered that the stereotypes (some of them, at least) are true. Things are slower. People are friendlier; they chat with one another on street corners and say hi when they pass you on the street (which still freaks me out, even after 4 years). They're traditional. But when I mention these differences to my friends from the south, they scoff and tell me that it's in my head.

But it's not! Jason Rentfrow conducted a study at Cambridge where he surveyed 1.5 million Americans, based on 5 key personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (I would like a definition of this particular trait...). And, lo and behold, America is divided, loosely, into 3 separate areas with 3 separate personalities. And, in an even bigger surprise (sarcasm), the Northeast is characterized as a "temperamental and uninhibited region," where individuals are reserved, aloof, impulsive, irritable, and inquisitive; the South/Midwest, on the other hand, is characterized as being sociable, considerate, dutiful, and traditional. Yep, I would say that sums up my observations extremely well.
Where Do You Come From? And Who Are You?
  Where Do You Come From? And Who Are You?
I find this kind of stuff fascinating. Having moved to an area where personalities, behaviors, and ideals are frequently drastically different, it's interesting to see that my observations are not just in my head! It's also interesting to see how the personalities of my friends (many of whom are from the south or midwest) reflect these trends. 

Where are you from? Does your personality reflect that of your region of the country?

(It should be noted that the western part of the country is characterized as being open-minded, tolerant, individualistic, and happy - sounds nice!)

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