How Geography Affects Your Personality by Erica

March 4, 2018


How Geography Affects Your Personality

Geography is highly correlational with personalities. Understanding how geography shapes people’s personalities is key in understanding how to help people live better and happier lives. There are three main ideas about how the locality a person lives in can affect their life. This involves social influence, ecological influence, and selective migration. However, the reason people often feel distinct with others has to do with their political ideology, their economic status, their social life, and their healthiness. All these points come together to shape the people we are. It is important to understand what aspects of personality are common in a locality to see how their geography has affected them. People have an easier time coming together when they understand where they have come from.

Social influence is a key aspect that is relevant in the formation of personalities across the globe. Social influence is the concept of how traditions, customs, lifestyles, and daily practices in a locality can directly impact societal norms. These aspects of society can affect people’s attitudes and behaviors. In other words, understanding how geography influences us can help us learn how to live a healthy life. Peter Rentfrow has been studying the effects of geography on personality for at least a decade and has written about many of his findings. For example, according to expert, Peter Rentfrow, when personality tests are taken together, they can “suggest the degree to which residents of an area are psychologically healthy which is directly linked to the level of physical health within that area. This link raises important questions about the relationship between psychological and physical health: Does living in an unhealthy environment contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety, or vice versa?” To further this point, the geography we live in can play a major role in how happy or healthy we are. Our surroundings are highly influential when it come to our attitudes and behaviors.

In addition to social influence, ecological influence in localities is also affecting our personalities. Ecological influence is the idea that features of the physical environment affect people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. For example, people who have access to clean, running water lead drastically different lives than people who have no running water. On the other hand, according to expert Rentfrow, people “living near green spaces has been shown to foster well-being and reduce stress. In addition, in countries with demanding climates and limited natural resources, residents display more communal and collectivistic values compared to individuals in less harsh environments.” To further this point, soil, water supply, climate, terrain, plants and animals, and infrastructure all contribute to a resident’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. All these aspects come together to influence our personalities.

Finally, the last key idea of geographical influence on people involves selective migration. Selective migration is when people carefully choose where to move to. They could be considering many factors such as climate, friends and family, jobs, and their security when making this decision. Recent research from Rentfrow “indicates that people who are creative and sociable are more likely to migrate than are people low on those traits, and that people who are agreeable are less inclined to move from their hometowns than people who are less friendly. This work suggests that geographical differences in personality could emerge as a result of genetic drift.” In other words, people could be choosing to move to certain localities because they want to surround themselves with people who are similar to them in the aspect of personality. Overall, there are three main ideas about how the locality a person lives in can affect their life. Social influence, ecological influence, and selective migration all come together to shape the personalities of people in certain geographies.