Tuesday, November 18, 2008

North Carolina People More "Dutiful and Agreeable" Than Rest of the Country

Certain regional stereotypes have long since become clichés: The Stressed-out New Yorker. The Laid-back Californian.

But the Conscientious Floridian? The Neurotic Kentuckian? The Dutiful North Carolinian?

You bet -- at least, according to new research on the geography of personality. Based on more than 600,000 questionnaires and published in the Journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, the study maps regional clusters of personality traits, then overlays state-by-state data on crime, health and economic development in search of correlations.

According to the study, Dutiful states -- an eclectic bunch that includes North Carolina, New Mexico, and Utah -- produce a disproportionate share of mathematicians.


Hmm...There must be a correlation between math proclivity and manufactured home living, another category in which we lead nationally. (Quick theory: since we are such good mathematicians, many of us have calculated the overall savings and economic advantages of living in manufactured homes and are taking advantage of these discovered efficiencies. However, I wonder if this math contains the more exotic calculations involved when predicting the path of tornados, or the ratings of the Jerry Springer show?)

North Carolina also rates very high in "Agreeableness" which could be the “Southern Hospitality” thing. This myth about North Carolinians is that we will invite you into our house for tea and scones, even if we don’t know you….and we might even ask you to stay the night such that fried chicken, collards and sweet tea can be served and family legacies can be compared. Ironically, I have never known anyone from this state that would actually do that. (And I grew up here).

However, California which ranks 38th in Agreeableness is sort of the headquarters for this type of behavior, where almost anyone will invite you in and tell you their life story…but one must be careful not to eat or drink what you are offered.

The other exceptions to this Agreeableness thing in North Carolina would be when discussions of politics or religion come up where we, (witness the latest election) are somewhat divided and opinionated. Even the Baptist and Episcopal churches in the state have split into different factions respectively. And the rancor surrounding college choices and the personality types associated with them does not fit into what I would call Agreeableness.

With all that said, I for one am very proud to be from North Carolina…especially when you look at some of the statistics from other states.

One in particular is Alaska. The home state of the latest political star to fire up the ratings at Fox and CNN alike is ranked 49th in Openness, 47th in Neuroticism, 49th in Extraversion, dead last in Contentiousness, and dead last in Agreeableness. No wonder many Alaskans wanted to succeed from the US…they must prefer the company of Caribou.

Anyway, you can read about how we match up in other ways at The Wall Street Journal Online article called "The United States of Mind". Make sure you click on the interactive graphic that comes along with the article.

No comments: