Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Three psychological regions of the U.S. - economic, health, social, political correlates

Rentfrow and collaborators probe the possibility of dividing regions of the United States, not in terms of traditional social and economic indicators, but in terms of psychological characteristics instead. It seems reasonable that psychological factors would underlie higher level outcomes such as social and economic indicators.
...the present work aimed to determine whether it is possible to construct a map of the United States based entirely on psychological characteristics, in this case personality traits. What would such a map look like? And how would its individual regions vary in terms of key political, economic, social, and health (PESH) metrics known to vary geographically within countries?
The analysis was at a state level, covered data obtained in many studies for millions of people, and the article has mind-numbing detail on statistical analysis of these studies. Just to cut to the chase, I though it would be interesting to show their final summary and graphic.

The maps displayed show the geographical concentrations of the personality clusters across the United States. What is especially striking is that each of the personality clusters formed a distinctive geographical pattern. Cluster 1 (Friendly & Conventional) comprises states predominantly in the north central Great Plains and in the South. States in the Mountain, Pacific Coast, Mid-Atlantic, and New England regions were the least similar to this particular cluster. States predominantly in the West and some along the Eastern Seaboard were prototypical of Cluster 2 (Relaxed & Creative), whereas most of the states in the Midwest, Great Plains, and Gulf Coast were most different from this cluster. Finally, states in New England and the Middle Atlantic were prototypical of Cluster 3 (Temperamental & Uninhibited), whereas states in the Southeast, Great Plains, and Mountain region were not members of this cluster.

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