For those of us who have moved around a lot, there's always a hope that, with a new city, will come a sort of rebirth, a new identity. But can you ever, really, outrun your id? Thanks to several new studies, research is showing that where you live does affect your personality, but only to a point. I guess there's no escaping this nasty nail biting habit of mine, huh?
Published in the Journal of Research in Personality’s February issue, the most recent study regarding geography and personality was run by Michigan State University's William Chopik and University of Illinois' Matt Motyl. Their research focused on whether "relational styles" (read: romantic relationships) varied across different regions of the United States. In examining both how people regard relationships and how they function within them, Chopik and Motyl were able to gain some insight into state-based personality trends. The results? "We have these stereotypes about places, and it turns out that a lot of those are confirmed," said lead author Chopik according to New York Magazine's Science of Us. Whomp, whomp.
The researchers focused on two well-known relationship "bad habits": Attachment anxiety (clinginess, constant worry that your partner will leave you), and attachment avoidance (lack of intimacy, coldness towards your partner).
The states deemed the best for lovers scored low on both of these habits; they also, coincidentally, scored highest in marriage rates and reported fewer people living in isolation.
So where were The Best States For Love, Or, At Least, Content Complacency Within A Relationship? Drumroll, please!
Mississippi, Utah and Wisconsin all essentially tied for the number one spot; North Dakota, Kentucky and Kansas ranked as the worst in the nation.
Out of more than 127,000 surveyed adults, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic citizens were found to be more anxious in their romantic relationships, while mountainous and Great Plains areas had the highest number of isolated folks. But fear not, prairie babes! Your zip code does not exclusively dictate your romantic fate.
As Chopik is quick to point out, secluded areas tend to cater to loners, and a state's weather may also have an effect. His statements are backed by another study, from Jason Rentfrow at the University of Cambridge. Rentfrow looked at three elements — migration patterns, ecology, and social influence — that he thought may contribute to statewide differences in personality.
Once an area gains a reputation, whether it be as an artist's enclave or a fast-moving, high-energy metropolis, people tend to migrate there in order to join like-minded humans. Those traits, a combination of genetics and points of view, pretty quickly become intertwined with the overall personality of an area. Essentially, you are where you drawn to move, not necessarily where you are born. For all of you babes feeling stuck in Midwestern suburbia, don't worry — you can still totally be, like, a California girl at heart.