|Persons residing in more mountainous regions tended to show introverted personalities compared to people living in flatter areas / Photo by Logan Venture via Shutterstock|
Personalities are often the most important aspects of ourselves. It dictates how we behave in certain situations, how we like to do things, who we enjoy for company, and even what sort of vacations we like to take. While our characteristic traits can often be a result of a large number of factors, one of the most striking of these may be the sort of place you grew up in.
A Definite Link
A study published by Shigehiro Oishi and a number of colleagues showed that there was a definite relationship between geography and one’s personality. In a series of five studies, they tried to establish that introverted individuals would prefer mountainous scenery and pictures over those of beaches and oceans. The results showed that they indeed did. Furthermore, persons residing in more mountainous regions tended to show introverted personalities compared to people living in flatter areas.
Of course, this raised the question of whether the place changed the person or if the person tended to certain areas on their own. Does a certain environment change the personality and perceptions of a person, or will they be more inclined to seek out certain places based on what their personality was already like? When they probed the answer to these questions, they let participants engage in a group discussion that in two different environments to see if introverts would change their manner of conversation based on it. As stated by Psychology Today, there was little evidence to suggest that simply changing a person’s environment for a day already had a change in their behavior.
Another study showed that though there may not be a direct correlation between the place we live in and what our personalities are like, it was able to show there is indeed a link between how the mix of the environment and our individual personalities and traits can lead to a change in our habits, emotions, and our outlook on life.
The study, conducted by Markus Jokela, included an incredibly large population—the residents of London City. They attempted to find a relationship between the different districts in the city with people’s perception of life satisfaction and their different variables of personality. There were indeed correlations between personalities and the different regions, but these were more dependent on the location’s physical properties, such as the amount of green space, domestic buildings, and even the density of people.
Personality and Environment
Different persons have different personalities, this much is true. And as it turns out, the state of your well-being can be dictated by the match between your personality and the place you live in. According to Brian Little, a Harvard psychologist, a person’s biogenic traits and their environment can either make a good fit or a bad one, which will ultimately lead to an improvement or otherwise of someone’s quality of living.
Biogenic traits, in this case, refer to the inherited portions of a person’s personality, which make up almost 50% of their overall personality. It seems that even in young babies, scientists found that those who would grow up to be extroverts tended to go closer to loud noises, while introverts strayed away from them.
Personality Chooses Environment
This then opens up an interesting flip of the assumptions that where you grew up makes you who you are. It seems that your personality can dictate what kind of place you would prefer to live in later in life, instead of the other way around. There are several scientists that believe, according to The Medium, that personality traits tend to stay stable over time, and that people already have 50% of their personality laid out for them when they’re born. Thus, it would not be likely that a person’s living environment changes their personality.
When examining a map of the US that displays the concentration of certain personality types, there are very clear patterns that emerge. However, Brian Little, Cambridge research professor and speaker in the field of personality and motivational psychology, explains that the clusters of certain personalities emerge not because of the fact people were born there but because they decided to move to areas that better suited their personal needs and personalities.
|The clusters of certain personalities emerge because they decided to move to areas that better suited their personal needs and personalities / Photo by blvdone via Shutterstock|
For example, a large number of people who were “open to new experiences” could be found in the New York area. As the place is a known hub for people of different backgrounds and a well for creativity and the arts, it would be no wonder that those pursuing careers in those fields would go to a place that actively supported people in the industry.
While where you grew up could change what kind of things you like or dislike, it seems your personality and traits, too, can shape your decisions on where you’d want to go in life, both literally and figuratively.
Personality and the effect environment and living area have on it is not a precise science, as there are several factors in play. However, scientists will continue to study the human condition and how the environment can play a part in shaping it.