Article

Are Regional Differences in Psychological Characteristics and Their Correlates Robust? Applying Spatial-Analysis Techniques to Examine Regional Variation in Personality

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

There is growing evidence that psychological characteristics are spatially clustered across geographic regions and that regionally aggregated psychological characteristics are related to important outcomes. However, much of the evidence comes from research that relied on methods that are theoretically ill-suited for working with spatial data. The validity and generalizability of this work are thus unclear. Here we address two main challenges of working with spatial data (i.e., modifiable areal unit problem and spatial dependencies) and evaluate data-analysis techniques designed to tackle those challenges. To illustrate these issues, we investigate the robustness of regional Big Five personality differences and their correlates within the United States (Study 1; N = 3,387,303) and Germany (Study 2; N = 110,029). First, we display regional personality differences using a spatial smoothing approach. Second, we account for the modifiable areal unit problem by examining the correlates of regional personality scores across multiple spatial levels. Third, we account for spatial dependencies using spatial regression models. Our results suggest that regional psychological differences are robust and can reliably be studied across countries and spatial levels. The results also show that ignoring the methodological challenges of spatial data can have serious consequences for research concerned with regional psychological differences.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... Earlier work examined differences between nations (e.g., Allik & McCrae, 2004;McCrae et al., 2005), but research soon expanded to within-nation analyses, such as comparisons of large multi-state regions (Rogers & Wood, 2010) and individual states in the U.S. (e.g., Obschonka et al., 2013;Park et al., 2006;Rentfrow 2010;Rentfrow et al., 2008Rentfrow et al., , 2009Rentfrow et al., , 2013. More recently, researchers have leveraged large datasets of self-reported measures to estimate differences at much smaller regions: zip codes (Bleidorn et al., 2016;Ebert et al., 2019;Elleman et al., 2020) and Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs; Obschonka et. al, 2016) in the U.S., Local Authority Districts in the United Kingdom , administrative regions and labor market regions in Germany (Ebert et al., 2019), metropolitan areas of London , and continental cities in China (Wei et al., 2017). ...
... More recently, researchers have leveraged large datasets of self-reported measures to estimate differences at much smaller regions: zip codes (Bleidorn et al., 2016;Ebert et al., 2019;Elleman et al., 2020) and Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs; Obschonka et. al, 2016) in the U.S., Local Authority Districts in the United Kingdom , administrative regions and labor market regions in Germany (Ebert et al., 2019), metropolitan areas of London , and continental cities in China (Wei et al., 2017). ...
... Openness has been consistently linked to more liberal political values, unconventional beliefs, and artistic and intellectual interests (Jost et al., 2003;McCrae, 1996;Ozer & Benet-Martinez, 2006). State-level (Elleman et al., 2018;Rentfrow et al., 2013) and county-level analyses (Ebert et al., 2019) have found that regional openness correlated with votes for liberal political candidates, higher educational attainment, and higher proportions of the local population working in arts and entertainment. Therefore, we predicted county-level openness to be correlated with high votes for liberal presidential candidates in 2012 and 2016, higher proportions of individuals with a college degree, and relatively more individuals working in the arts and entertainment industries. ...
Article
Objective We explore the personality of counties as assessed through linguistic patterns on social media. Such studies were previously limited by the cost and feasibility of large-scale surveys; however, language-based computational models applied to large social media datasets now allow for large-scale personality assessment. Method We applied a language-based assessment of the five factor model of personality to 6,064,267 U.S. Twitter users. We aggregated the Twitter-based personality scores to 2,041 counties and compared to political, economic, social, and health outcomes measured through surveys and by government agencies. Results There was significant personality variation across counties. Openness to experience was higher on the coasts, conscientiousness was uniformly spread, extraversion was higher in southern states, agreeableness was higher in western states, and emotional stability was highest in the south. Across 13 outcomes, language-based personality estimates replicated patterns that have been observed in individual-level and geographic studies. This includes higher Republican vote share in less agreeable counties and increased life satisfaction in more conscientious counties. Conclusions Results suggest that regions vary in their personality and that these differences can be studied through computational linguistic analysis of social media. Furthermore, these methods may be used to explore other psychological constructs across geographies.
... Participants reported the degree to which they agreed with each statement using a five-point rating scale (ranging from one [Disagree strongly] to five [Agree strongly]). The psychometric suitability of this personality data set for cross-regional research has been demonstrated in a wide variety of previous studies (Rentfrow, Gosling, and Potter 2008;Rentfrow et al. 2013;Ebert et al. 2021). ...
Article
Breakthrough innovations are expected to have a bigger impact on local economies than incremental innovations do. Yet past research has largely neglected the regional drivers of breakthrough innovations. Building on theories that highlight the role of personality psychology and human agency in shaping regional innovation cultures, we focus on psychological openness as a potential explanation for why some regions produce more breakthrough innovations than others do. We use a large data set of psychological personality profiles (∼1.26M individuals) to estimate the openness of people in metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the US. Our results reveal that psychological openness is strongly associated with the emergence of breakthrough innovations but not with the emergence of incremental innovations. The findings remained robust after controlling for an extensive set of predictors of regional innovation such as star inventors, star scientists, or knowledge diversity. The results held even when we used tolerance as an alternative indicator of openness. Taken together, our results provide robust evidence that openness is relevant for regional innovation performance, serving as an important predictor for breakthrough innovations but not for incremental innovations.
... For Germany, we aggregated individual-level personality scores to the level of 402 administrative districts (Stadtund Landkreise) and kept all geographical units (regional sample size for Germany: M = 273; SD = 504). The psychometric suitability of the GPIPP data to analyze regional personality differences in the US and Germany has been demonstrated in previous work (25). Importantly, previous research has also shown that regional personality differences are highly stable over time (35). ...
Preprint
Social behaviors play a key role in the spread of COVID-19. Consequently, regional variation in personality traits that capture individual differences in these social behaviors may offer new insight into regional variation in COVID-19 cases. Here we combine self-reported personality data (N ≈ 3.5 million people), official COVID-19 prevalence rates, and behavioral observations (N ≈ 29 million people) to show that regional personality differences in the US and Germany predict the regional onset and growth of COVID-19 cases above and beyond a highly conservative set of socio-demographic, socio-economic, and pandemic-related control variables. Openness and Extraversion were consistently related to earlier COVID-19 onsets and steeper growth rates. The opposite pattern was found for Neuroticism. We also shed light on regional responses to the outbreak, showing that regional personality (i) is associated with objective indicators of regional social distancing, and (ii) predicts self-reported social distancing beyond the effects of individual-level personality.
... Mapping approach. To visualize the spatial distribution of loneliness within Germany, we applied an actor-based clustering approach-a mapping technique that allows revealing distributional patterns without aggregating data to a higher spatial level first (Brenner, 2017;Ebert, Gebauer, et al., 2019). In this approach, we based our analyses on the finest spatial information available in our data (i.e., in which of the 11,165 German municipalities a person lives). ...
Article
Loneliness has traditionally been studied on the individual level. This study is one of the first to systematically describe and explain differences in loneliness on a fine-grained regional level. Using data from the nationally representative German Socio-Economic Panel Study ( N = 17,602), we mapped the regional distribution of loneliness across Germany and examined whether regional differences in loneliness can be explained by both individual and regional characteristics. Perceived neighborhood relation, perceived distance to public parks and sport/leisure facilities as well as objective regional remoteness and population change were positively related to loneliness. Individual-level characteristics, however, appeared to be more important in explaining variance in loneliness. In sum, loneliness varies across geographical regions, and these differences can partly be linked to characteristics of these regions. Our results may aid governments and public health care services to identify geographical areas most at risk of loneliness and the resulting physical and mental health issues.
... Mapping approach. To visualize the spatial distribution of loneliness within Germany, we applied an actor-based clustering approach-a mapping technique that allows revealing distributional patterns without aggregating data to a higher spatial level first (Brenner, 2017;Ebert, Gebauer, et al., 2019). In this approach, we based our analyses on the finest spatial information available in our data (i.e., in which of the 11,165 German municipalities a person lives). ...
Preprint
Loneliness has traditionally been studied on the individual level. This study is one of the first to systematically describe and explain differences in loneliness on a fine-grained regional level. Using data from the nationally representative German Socioeconomic Panel Study (N = 17,602), we mapped the regional distribution of loneliness across Germany and examined whether regional differences in loneliness can be explained by both individual and regionalcharacteristics. Perceived neighborhood relation, perceived distance to public parks and sport/leisure facilities as well as objective regional remoteness and population change were positively related to loneliness. Individual-level characteristics, however, appeared to be more important in explaining variance in loneliness. In sum, loneliness varies across geographical regions, and these differences can partly be linked to characteristics of these regions. Our results may aid governments and public health care services to identify geographical areas most at risk for loneliness and resulting physical and mental health issues.
Article
Psychologists have become increasingly interested in the geographical organization of psychological phenomena. Such studies typically seek to identify geographical variation in psychological characteristics and examine the causes and consequences of that variation. Geo-psychological research offers unique advantages, such as a wide variety of easily obtainable behavioral outcomes. However, studies at the geographically aggregate level also come with unique challenges that require psychologists to work with unfamiliar data formats, sources, measures, and statistical problems. The present article aims to present psychologists with a methodological roadmap that equips them with basic analytical techniques for geographical analysis. Across five sections, we provide a step-by-step tutorial and walk readers through a full geo-psychological research project. We provide guidance for (a) choosing an appropriate geographical level and aggregating individual data, (b) spatializing data and mapping geographical distributions, (c) creating and managing spatial weights matrices, (d) assessing geographical clustering and identifying distributional patterns, and (e) regressing spatial data using spatial regression models. Throughout the tutorial, we alternate between explanatory sections that feature in-depth background information and hands-on sections that use real data to demonstrate the practical implementation of each step in R. The full R code and all data used in this demonstration are available from the OSF project page accompanying this article. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Objective: Dynamic social impact theory (DSIT; Latané, 1996a) suggests that as people influence and are influenced by others in proportion to their strength, immediacy, and number, four group-level phenomena of clustering, correlation, consolidation, and continuing diversity will emerge. The purpose of this article is to apply DSIT and its predecessor, social impact theory (SIT; Latané, 1981), as well as related research on attitude extremity to help elucidate the group processes that led to the January 6, 2021, insurrection of Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol. Method: We review and critically evaluate the evidence for these theories and then use news reports to discuss ways in which they help explain events before, during, and after the insurrection. We also discuss what the theories would suggest for preventing similar future events. Results: Social influence from a very persuasive and high immediacy communicator along with internet communication among his followers led to clusters of extremifying alternative “truths” that eventually propelled some to act on those beliefs. Conclusions: The ease of online discussion allows group processes to operate at much larger and potentially more dangerous levels than ever before. One hope for moderation may be reducing the importance of the issues involved in people’s minds.
Article
Accumulating evidence suggests that culture changes in response to shifting socioecological conditions; economic development is a particularly potent driver of such change. Previous research has shown that economic development can induce slow but steady cultural changes within large cultural entities (e.g., countries). Here we propose that economically driven culture change can occur rapidly, particularly in smaller cultural entities (e.g., cites). Drawing on work in cultural dynamics, urban economics, and geographical psychology, we hypothesize that changes in local housing prices-reflecting changing availability of local amenities-can induce rapid shifts in local cultures of Openness. We propose two mechanisms that might underlie such cultural shifts: selective migration (i.e., people selectively moving to cities that offer certain amenities) and social acculturation (i.e., people adapting to changing amenities in their city). Based on trait Openness scores of 1,946,752 U.S. residents, we track annual changes in local Openness across 199 cities for 9 years (2006-2014). We link these data to annual information on local housing markets, an established proxy for local amenities. To test interdependencies between the time series of local housing markets and Openness, we use Panel Vector Autoregression modeling. In line with our hypothesis, we find robust evidence that rising housing costs predict positive shifts in local Openness but not vice versa. Additional analyses leveraging participants' duration of residence in their city suggest that both selective migration and social acculturation contribute to shifts in local Openness. Our study offers a new window onto the rapid changes of cultures at local levels. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Full-text available
Interactionist theories are considered to have resolved the classic person-situation debate by demonstrating that human behavior is most accurately described as a function of both personal characteristics as well as environmental cues. According to these theories, personality traits form part of the personal characteristics that drive behavior. We suggest that psychological theory stands to gain from also considering personality traits as an important environmental characteristic that shapes sociocultural norms and institutions, and, in turn, behavior. Building on research in geographical psychology, we support this proposition by presenting evidence on the relationship of individual and regional personality with spending behavior. Analyzing the spending records of 111,336 participants (31,915,942 unique transactions) across 374 Local Authority Districts (LAD) in the United Kingdom, we first show that geographic regions with higher aggregate scores on a given personality trait collectively spend more money on categories associated with that trait. Shifting the focus to individual level spending as our behavioral outcome (N = 1,716), we further demonstrate that regional personality of a participant's home LAD predicts individual spending above and beyond individual personality. That is, a person's spending reflects both their own personality traits as well as the personality traits of the people around them. We use conditional random forest predictions to highlight the robustness of these findings in the presence of a comprehensive set of individual and regional control variables. Taken together, our findings empirically support the proposition that spending behaviors reflect personality traits as both personal and environmental characteristics. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Full-text available
Human DNA polymorphisms vary across geographic regions, with the most commonly observed variation reflecting distant ancestry differences. Here we investigate the geographic clustering of common genetic variants that influence complex traits in a sample of ~450,000 individuals from Great Britain. Of 33 traits analysed, 21 showed significant geographic clustering at the genetic level after controlling for ancestry, probably reflecting migration driven by socioeconomic status (SES). Alleles associated with educational attainment (EA) showed the most clustering, with EA-decreasing alleles clustering in lower SES areas such as coal mining areas. Individuals who leave coal mining areas carry more EA-increasing alleles on average than those in the rest of Great Britain. The level of geographic clustering is correlated with genetic associations between complex traits and regional measures of SES, health and cultural outcomes. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that social stratification leaves visible marks in geographic arrangements of common allele frequencies and gene–environment correlations.
Article
Full-text available
Objective: There is growing evidence that certain regional personality differences function as important drivers and shapers of regional economic development (e.g., via effects on entrepreneurship and innovation activity). The present investigation examines the impact that regional variation in the trait courage has on entrepreneurship. Method: Using data from a new large-scale internet-based study, we provide the first psychological map of courage across the US (N = 390,341 respondents from 283 US metropolitan regions). We apply regression analyses to relate regional courage scores to archival data on the emergence and survival of start-ups across American regions. Results: Our mapping approach reveals comparatively high levels of regional courage in the Eastern and Southern regions of the US. Regional courage scores were positively related to entrepreneurial activity, but negatively related to start-up survival - even when controlling for a wide variety of standard economic predictors. Several robustness checks confirmed these results. Finally, regional differences in economic risk-taking accounted for significant proportions of variance in the link between regional courage and entrepreneurship. Conclusion: Our results suggest that regional courage may contribute to a pattern of enterprising but also risky economic behavior, which can lead to high levels of entrepreneurial activity but also shorter start-up survival.
Article
Full-text available
There is increasing interest in the potential of artificial intelligence and Big Data (e.g., generated via social media) to help understand economic outcomes. But can artificial intelligence models based on publicly available Big Data identify geographical differences in entrepreneurial personality or culture? We use a machine learning model based on 1.5 billion tweets by 5.25 million users to estimate the Big Five personality traits and an entrepreneurial personality profile for 1,772 U.S. counties. The Twitter-based personality estimates show substantial relationships to county-level entrepreneurship activity, accounting for 20% (entrepreneurial personality profile) and 32% (Big Five traits) of the variance in local entrepreneurship, even when controlling for other factors that affect entrepreneurship. Whereas more research is clearly needed, our findings have initial implications for research and practice concerned with entrepreneurial regions and ecosystems , and regional economic outcomes interacting with local culture. The results suggest, for example, that social media datasets and artificial intelligence methods have the potential to deliver comparable information on the personality and culture of regions than studies based on millions of questionnaire-based personality tests.
Article
Full-text available
Recent research suggests that agreeable individuals experience greater financial hardship than their less agreeable peers. We explore the psychological mechanisms underlying this relationship and provide evidence that it is driven by agreeable individuals considering money to be less important, but not (as previously suggested) by agreeable individuals pursuing more cooperative negotiating styles. Taking an interactionist perspective, we further hypothesize that placing little importance on money—a risk factor for money mismanagement—is more detrimental to the financial health of those agreeable individuals who lack the economic means to compensate for their predisposition. Supporting this proposition, we show that agreeableness is more strongly (and sometimes exclusively) related to financial hardship among low-income individuals. We present evidence from diverse data sources, including 2 online panels (n1 = 636, n2 = 3,155), a nationally representative survey (n3 = 4,170), objective bank account data (n4 = 549), a longitudinal cohort study (n5 = 2,429), and geographically aggregated insolvency and personality measures (n6 = 332,951, n7 = 2,468,897).
Article
Full-text available
The present study extended traditional nation-based research on person-culture-fit to the regional level. First, we examined the geographical distribution of Big Five personality traits in Switzerland. Across the 26 Swiss cantons, unique patterns were observed for all traits. For Extraversion and Neuroticism clear language divides emerged between the French-and Italian-speaking SouthWest vs. the German-speaking NorthEast. Second, multilevel modeling demonstrated that person-environment-fit in Big Five, composed of elevation (i.e., mean differences between individual profile and cantonal profile), scatter (differences in mean variances) and shape (Pearson correlations between individual and cantonal profiles across all traits; Furr, 2008, 2010), predicted the development of subjective wellbeing (i.e., life satisfaction, satisfaction with personal relationships, positive affect, negative affect) over a period of 4 years. Unexpectedly, while the effects of shape were in line with the person-environment-fit hypothesis (better fit predicted higher subjective wellbeing), the effects of scatter showed the opposite pattern, while null findings were observed for elevation. Across a series of robustness checks, the patterns for shape and elevation were consistently replicated. While that was mostly the case for scatter as well, the effects of scatter appeared to be somewhat less robust and more sensitive to the specific way fit was modeled when predicting certain outcomes (negative affect, positive affect). Distinguishing between supplementary and complementary fit may help to reconcile these findings and future research should explore whether and if so under which conditions these concepts may be applicable to the respective facets of person-culture-fit.
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we are interested in computing ZIP code proximity from two perspectives, proximity between two ZIP codes (Ad-Hoc) and neighborhood proximity (Top-K). Such a computation can be used for ZIP code-based target marketing as one of the smart city applications. A naïve approach to this computation is the usage of the distance between ZIP codes. We redefine a distance metric combining the centroid distance with the intersecting road network between ZIP codes by using a weighted sum method. Furthermore, we prove that the results of our combined approach conform to the characteristics of distance measurement. We have proposed a general and heuristic approach for computingAd-Hocproximity, while for computingTop-Kproximity, we have proposed a general approach only. Our experimental results indicate that our approaches are verifiable and effective in reducing the execution time and search space.
Article
Full-text available
This article adds a psychological perspective to help explain the regional Brexit vote. Based on an extensive dataset with personality traits, combined with socioeconomic data, our findings suggest that the regional clustering of these personality traits contribute to an understanding of the regional dispersion of the Brexit vote. We find evidence that psychological 'Openness' is the personality trait that matters most and that modest changes in this trait could actually have swung the vote across UK districts. Moreover, the relevance of psychological Openness solves the puzzle that UK districts that are relatively dependent on trade with the EU predominantly voted for Leave. By including psychological factors, our results show how we can arrive at a better understanding of the geography of the discontent with globalisation.
Article
Full-text available
Researchers have shown an interest in the aggregated Big Five personality of U.S. states, but typically they have relied on scores from a single sample (Rentfrow, Gosling, & Potter, 2008). We examine the replicability of U.S. state personality scores from two studies (Rentfrow et al., 2008; Rentfrow, Gosling, Jokela, & Stillwell, 2013) across a total of seven samples, two of them new. Same-trait correlations across samples are, on average, positive for all five traits, indicating score agreement. Additionally, three traits (Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and Openness) show strongly consistent patterns of correlations with sociodemographic variables across samples. We find rank order stability in state personality scores for a 16-year period (1999–2015).
Article
Full-text available
Human personality traits differ across geographical regions ¹⁻⁵. However, it remains unclear what generates these geographical personality differences. Because humans constantly experience and react to ambient temperature, we propose that temperature is a crucial environmental factor that is associated with individuals' habitual behavioural patterns and, therefore, with fundamental dimensions of personality. To test the relationship between ambient temperature and personality, we conducted two large-scale studies in two geographically large yet culturally distinct countries: China and the United States. Using data from 59 Chinese cities (N = 5,587), multilevel analyses and machine learning analyses revealed that compared with individuals who grew up in regions with less clement temperatures, individuals who grew up in regions with more clement temperatures (that is, closer to 22 °C) scored higher on personality factors related to socialization and stability (agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability) and personal growth and plasticity (extraversion and openness to experience). These relationships between temperature clemency and personality factors were replicated in a larger dataset of 12,499 ZIP-code level locations (the lowest geographical level feasible) in the United States (N = 1,660,638). Taken together, our findings provide a perspective on how and why personalities vary across geographical regions beyond past theories (subsistence style theory, selective migration theory and pathogen prevalence theory). As climate change continues across the world, we may also observe concomitant changes in human personality.
Article
Full-text available
Recent research has identified regional variation of personality traits within countries but we know little about the underlying drivers of this variation. We propose that the Industrial Revolution, as a key era in the history of industrialized nations, has led to a persistent clustering of well-being outcomes and personality traits associated with psychological adversity via processes of selective migration and socialization. Analyzing data from England and Wales, we examine relationships between the historical employment share in large-scale coal-based industries (coal mining and steam-powered manufacturing industries that used this coal as fuel for their steam engines) and today’s regional variation in personality and well-being. Even after controlling for possible historical confounds (historical energy supply, education, wealth, geology, climate, population density), we find that the historical local dominance of large-scale coal-based industries predicts today’s markers of psychological adversity (lower Conscientiousness [and order facet scores], higher Neuroticism [and anxiety and depression facet scores], lower activity [an Extraversion facet], and lower life satisfaction and life expectancy). An instrumental variable analysis, using the historical location of coalfields, supports the causal assumption behind these effects (with the exception of life satisfaction). Further analyses focusing on mechanisms hint at the roles of selective migration and persisting economic hardship. Finally, a robustness check in the U.S. replicates the effect of the historical concentration of large-scale industries on today’s levels of psychological adversity. Taken together, the results show how today’s regional patterns of personality and well-being may have their roots in major societal changes underway decades or centuries earlier.
Article
Full-text available
Due to a lack of data, the demographic and psychological factors associated with lethal force by police officers have remained insufficiently explored. We develop the first predictive models of lethal force by integrating crowd-sourced and fact-checked lethal force databases with regional demographics and measures of geolocated implicit and explicit racial biases collected from 2,156,053 residents across the United States. Results indicate that only the implicit racial prejudices and stereotypes of White residents, beyond major demographic covariates, are associated with disproportionally more use of lethal force with Blacks relative to regional base rates of Blacks in the population. Thus, the current work provides the first macropsychological statistical models of lethal force, indicating that the context in which police officers work is significantly associated with disproportionate use of lethal force.
Article
Full-text available
An extensive literature has emerged in regional studies linking organization-based measures of entrepreneurship (e.g., self-employment, new start-ups) to regional economic performance. A limitation of the extant literature is that the measurement of entrepreneurship is not able to incorporate broader conceptual views, such as behavior, of what actually constitutes entrepreneurship. This paper fills this gap by linking the underlying and also more fundamental and encompassing entrepreneurship culture of regions to regional economic performance. The empirical evidence suggests that those regions exhibiting higher levels of entrepreneurship culture tend to have higher employment growth. Robustness checks using causal methods confirm this finding.
Article
Full-text available
Do macropsychological factors predict “hard” economic outcomes like regional economic resilience? Prior approaches to understanding economic resilience have focused on regional economic infrastructure. In contrast, we draw on research highlighting the key role played by psychological factors in economic behaviors. Using large psychological data sets from the United States (n = 935,858) and Great Britain (n = 417,217), we characterize region-level psychological correlates of economic resilience. Specifically, we examine links between regions’ levels of psychological traits and their degree of economic slowdown (indexed by changes in entrepreneurial vitality) in the wake of the Great Recession of 2008–2009. In both countries, more emotionally stable regions and regions with a more prevalent entrepreneurial personality makeup showed a significantly lower economic slowdown. This effect was robust when accounting for regional differences in economic infrastructure. Cause cannot be inferred from these correlational findings, but the results nonetheless point to macropsychological factors as potentially protective factors against macroeconomic shocks.
Article
Full-text available
Psychological research has increasingly recognized the importance of integrating temporal dynamics into its theories, and innovations in longitudinal designs and analyses have allowed such theories to be formalized and tested. However, psychological researchers may be relatively unequipped to analyze such data, given its many characteristics and the general complexities involved in longitudinal modeling. The current paper introduces time series analysis to psychological research, an analytic domain that has been essential for understanding and predicting the behavior of variables across many diverse fields. First, the characteristics of time series data are discussed. Second, different time series modeling techniques are surveyed that can address various topics of interest to psychological researchers, including describing the pattern of change in a variable, modeling seasonal effects, assessing the immediate and long-term impact of a salient event, and forecasting future values. To illustrate these methods, an illustrative example based on online job search behavior is used throughout the paper, and a software tutorial in R for these analyses is provided in the Appendix.
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, modern economies have shifted away from being based on physical capital and towards being based on new knowledge (e.g., new ideas and inventions). Consequently, contemporary economic theorizing and key public policies have been based on the assumption that resources for generating knowledge (e.g., education, diversity of industries) are essential for regional economic vitality. However, policy makers and scholars have discovered that, contrary to expectations, the mere presence of, and investments in, new knowledge does not guarantee a high level of regional economic performance (e.g., high entrepreneurship rates). To date, this “knowledge paradox” has resisted resolution. We take an interdisciplinary perspective to offer a new explanation, hypothesizing that “hidden” regional culture differences serve as a crucial factor that is missing from conventional economic analyses and public policy strategies. Focusing on entrepreneurial activity, we hypothesize that the statistical relation between knowledge resources and entrepreneurial vitality (i.e., high entrepreneurship rates) in a region will depend on “hidden” regional differences in entrepreneurial culture. To capture such “hidden” regional differences, we derive measures of entrepreneurship-prone culture from two large personality datasets from the United States (N = 935,858) and Great Britain (N = 417,217). In both countries, the findings were consistent with the knowledge-culture-interaction hypothesis. A series of nine additional robustness checks underscored the robustness of these results. Naturally, these purely correlational findings cannot provide direct evidence for causal processes, but the results nonetheless yield a remarkably consistent and robust picture in the two countries. In doing so, the findings raise the idea of regional culture serving as a new causal candidate, potentially driving the knowledge paradox; such an explanation would be consistent with research on the psychological characteristics of entrepreneurs.
Article
Full-text available
Diener (2000) proposed that National Accounts of Well-Being be created to complement existing economic and social indicators that reflect the quality of life in nations. These national accounts can provide valuable information to policymakers and other leaders. Systematic measurement of subjective well-being provides novel information about the quality of life in societies, and it allows for the accumulation of detailed information regarding the circumstances that are associated with high subjective well-being. Thus, accounts of subjective well-being can help decision makers evaluate policies that improve societies beyond economic development. Progress with well-being accounts has been notable: Prestigious scientific and international institutions have recommended the creation of such national accounts, and these recommendations have been adopted in some form in over 40 nations. In addition, increasing research into policy-relevant questions reveals the importance of the accounts for policy. Psychologists can enlarge their role in the formulation and adoption of policies by actively studying and using accounts of subjective well-being to evaluate and support the policies they believe are needed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Full-text available
Recent investigations indicate that personality traits are unevenly distributed geographically, with some traits being more prevalent in certain places than in others. The geographical distributions of personality traits are associated with a range of important political, economic, social, and health outcomes. The majority of research on this subject has focused on the geographical distributions and macro-level correlates of personality across nations or regions of the United States. The aim of the present investigation was to replicate and extend that past work by examining regional personality differences in Great Britain. Using a sample of nearly 400,000 British residents, we mapped the geographical distributions of the Big Five Personality traits across 380 Local Authority Districts and examined the associations with important political, economic, social, and health outcomes. The results revealed distinct geographical clusters, with neighboring regions displaying similar personality characteristics, and robust associations with the macro-level outcome variables. Overall, the patterns of results were similar to findings from past research.
Article
Full-text available
Hostility and chronic stress are known risk factors for heart disease, but they are costly to assess on a large scale. We used language expressed on Twitter to characterize community-level psychological correlates of age-adjusted mortality from atherosclerotic heart disease (AHD). Language patterns reflecting negative social relationships, disengagement, and negative emotions-especially anger-emerged as risk factors; positive emotions and psychological engagement emerged as protective factors. Most correlations remained significant after controlling for income and education. A cross-sectional regression model based only on Twitter language predicted AHD mortality significantly better than did a model that combined 10 common demographic, socioeconomic, and health risk factors, including smoking, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Capturing community psychological characteristics through social media is feasible, and these characteristics are strong markers of cardiovascular mortality at the community level. © The Author(s) 2015.
Article
Full-text available
Residential location is thought to influence people's well-being, but different individuals may value residential areas differently. We examined how life satisfaction and personality traits are geographically distributed within the UK London metropolitan area, and how the strength of associations between personality traits and life satisfaction vary by residential location (i.e., personality-neighborhood interactions). Residential area was recorded at the level of postal districts (216 districts, n = 56,019 participants). Results indicated that the strength of associations between personality traits and life satisfaction depended on neighborhood characteristics. Higher openness to experience was more positively associated with life satisfaction in postal districts characterized by higher average openness to experience, population density, and ethnic diversity. Higher agreeableness and conscientiousness were more strongly associated with life satisfaction in postal districts with lower overall levels of life satisfaction. The associations of extraversion and emotional stability were not modified by neighborhood characteristics. These findings suggest that people's life satisfaction depends, in part, on the interaction between individual personality and particular features of the places they live.
Article
Loneliness has traditionally been studied on the individual level. This study is one of the first to systematically describe and explain differences in loneliness on a fine-grained regional level. Using data from the nationally representative German Socio-Economic Panel Study ( N = 17,602), we mapped the regional distribution of loneliness across Germany and examined whether regional differences in loneliness can be explained by both individual and regional characteristics. Perceived neighborhood relation, perceived distance to public parks and sport/leisure facilities as well as objective regional remoteness and population change were positively related to loneliness. Individual-level characteristics, however, appeared to be more important in explaining variance in loneliness. In sum, loneliness varies across geographical regions, and these differences can partly be linked to characteristics of these regions. Our results may aid governments and public health care services to identify geographical areas most at risk of loneliness and the resulting physical and mental health issues.
Chapter
The Modifiable Areal Unit Problem (MAUP) prevails in the analysis of spatially aggregated data and influences pattern recognition. It describes the sensitivity of the measurement of spatial phenomena to the size (the scale problem) and the shape (the aggregation problem) of the mapping unit. Much attention has been recieved from fields as diverse as statistical physics, image processing, human geography, landscape ecology, and biodiversity conservation. Recently, in the field of spatial ecology, a Bayesian estimation was proposed to grasp how our description of species distribution (described by range size and spatial autocorrelation) changes with the size and the shape of grain. This Bayesian estimation (BYE), called the scaling pattern of occupancy, is derived from the comparison of pair approximation (in the spatial analysis of cellular automata) and join-count statistics (in the spatial autocorrelation analysis) and has been tested using various sources of data. This chapter explores how the MAUP can be described and potentially solved by the BYE. Specifically, the scale and the aggregation problems are analyzed using simulated data from an individual-based model. The BYE will thus help to finalize a comprehensive solution to the MAUP.
Article
Urban and regional development theory is largely rooted in explanations based on the location, agglomeration and organisation of firms, industries and capital. Contemporary economic geography theory, however, is moving towards a (re)turn to addressing the role of human behaviour in determining urban and regional development outcomes. This article focuses on the concepts of culture, personality psychology and agency in order to understand how these behavioural factors interact and result in development differentials across cities and regions. It is proposed that psychocultural behavioural patterns provide a basis for understanding the type and nature of human agency within cities and regions. Furthermore, it is argued that such agency is based on a rationality that is spatially bounded, and intrinsically linked to the nature, source and evolution of institutions and power. It is concluded that the integration of human behavioural aspects into urban and regional development theory offers significant potential for exploring and explaining long-term evolutionary patterns of development.
Article
Do macropsychological factors predict “hard” economic outcomes like regional economic resilience? Prior approaches to understanding economic resilience have focused on regional economic infrastructure. In contrast, we draw on research highlighting the key role played by psychological factors in economic behaviors. Using large psychological data sets from the United States (n = 935,858) and Great Britain (n = 417,217), we characterize region-level psychological correlates of economic resilience. Specifically, we examine links between regions’ levels of psychological traits and their degree of economic slowdown (indexed by changes in entrepreneurial vitality) in the wake of the Great Recession of 2008–2009. In both countries, more emotionally stable regions and regions with a more prevalent entrepreneurial personality makeup showed a significantly lower economic slowdown. This effect was robust when accounting for regional differences in economic infrastructure. Cause cannot be inferred from these correlational findings, but the results nonetheless point to macropsychological factors as potentially protective factors against macroeconomic shocks.
Article
Die geographische Psychologie befasst sich unter anderem mit Persönlichkeitsunterschieden von Regionen und Regionstypen, in denen Personen leben und handeln. Mittels solcher Forschung können regionale „Mentalitäten“ untersucht werden aus denen sich Forschungsfragen zu Entwicklungspfaden von Regionen und deren Populationen ableiten lassen. Während existierende psychologische Regionalforschung „psychologische Landkarten“ vor allem in den USA und Großbritannien erforschte, liefert die vorliegende Analyse eine Regionaluntersuchung für Deutschland auf kleinteiligem Raumniveau (97 deutsche Raumordnungsregionen). Basierend auf dem Big Five Modell der Persönlichkeit werden deutsche Daten der „The Big Five Project“-Studie (N = 73756) präsentiert. Es werden regionale Persönlichkeitsunterschiedliche zwischen städtischen und ländlichen Regionen, Ost- und Westdeutschland, und Nord- und Süddeutschland getestet. Es finden sich insbesondere Hinweise für a) die empirische Validität einiger Stereotype (wie das der unterkühlten, rauen Norddeutschen, der gemütlichen Süddeutschen und der aufgeschlossenen Großstädter), b) systematische Migrationsmuster, und c) eine Köln-München Linie in der regionalen Verteilung von Neurotizismus. Die Effektstärken in den Regionalunterschieden sind in der Regel zwar gering, aber dennoch mit wichtigen Implikationen für zukünftige Forschung und Anwendungsgebiete.
Article
Based on a large number of Monte Carlo simulation experiments on a regular lattice, we compare the properties of Moran's I and Lagrange multiplier tests for spatial dependence, that is, for both spatial error autocorrelation and for a spatially lagged dependent variable. We consider both bias and power of the tests for six sample sizes, ranging from twenty‐five to 225 observations, for different structures of the spatial weights matrix, for several underlying error distributions, for misspecified weights matrices, and for the situation where boundary effects are present. The results provide an indication of the sample sizes for which the asymptotic properties of the tests can be considered to hold. They also illustrate the power of the Lagrange multiplier tests to distinguish between substantive spatial dependence (spatial lag) and spatial dependence as a nuisance (error autocorrelation).
Article
The potential for big data to provide value for psychology is significant. However, the pursuit of big data remains an uncertain and risky undertaking for the average psychological researcher. In this article, we address some of this uncertainty by discussing the potential impact of big data on the type of data available for psychological research, addressing the benefits and most significant challenges that emerge from these data, and organizing a variety of research opportunities for psychology. Our article yields two central insights. First, we highlight that big data research efforts are more readily accessible than many researchers realize, particularly with the emergence of open-source research tools, digital platforms, and instrumentation. Second, we argue that opportunities for big data research are diverse and differ both in their fit for varying research goals, as well as in the challenges they bring about. Ultimately, our outlook for researchers in psychology using and benefiting from big data is cautiously optimistic. Although not all big data efforts are suited for all researchers or all areas within psychology, big data research prospects are diverse, expanding, and promising for psychology and related disciplines.
Book
1: Introduction.- 2: The Scope of Spatial Econometrics.- 3: The Formal Expression of Spatial Effects.- 4: A Typology of Spatial Econometric Models.- 5: Spatial Stochastic Processes: Terminology and General Properties.- 6: The Maximum Likelihood Approach to Spatial Process Models.- 7: Alternative Approaches to Inference in Spatial Process Models.- 8: Spatial Dependence in Regression Error Terms.- 9: Spatial Heterogeneity.- 10: Models in Space and Time.- 11: Problem Areas in Estimation and Testing for Spatial Process Models.- 12: Operational Issues and Empirical Applications.- 13: Model Validation and Specification Tests in Spatial Econometric Models.- 14: Model Selection in Spatial Econometric Models.- 15: Conclusions.- References.
Article
Individual differences in self-control have been shown to reflect two, underlying dimensions: initiation and inhibition. We examined the possibility that degrees of self-control might likewise be modeled at a broader social level, similar to other socio-cultural differences that operate at an individual level (e.g., collectivism). To test this notion, we used a variety of mundane behaviors measured at the level of U.S. states to create inhibitory and initiatory indices of self-control at a collective level. We show that statewide levels of initiatory and inhibitory self-control, despite being correlated with one another, exhibit unique patterns of association with a wide range of outcomes, including homicide, suicide, home foreclosures, divorce, and infidelity. This study represents one of the first attempts to model the dimensional structure of self-control at a social level and supports the utility of conceptualizing self-control as an important socio-cultural variable.
Chapter
Spatial econometrics is concerned with modelling dependent observations indexed by points in a space. Complicated patterns of interdependence can be parsimoniously described in terms of these points’ locations. Covariances between observations, for example, can be modelled as functions of their distances. Index spaces are not limited to the physical space or times inhabited by economic agents and can be as abstract as required by the economics of the application. This entry discusses the use of generalized method of moments and other common estimators with spatial data, as well as simultaneous equation methods specialized to certain types of spatial data.
Article
Empathy is often studied at the individual level, but little is known about variation in empathy across geographic regions and how this variation is associated with important regional-level outcomes. The present study examined associations between state-level empathy, prosocial behavior, and antisocial behavior in the United States. Participants were 79,563 U.S. residential adults who completed measures of cognitive and emotional empathy (i.e., perspective taking and empathic concern). Information on prosocial and antisocial behavior was retrieved from publicly available government databases. All indices of empathy were related to lower rates of violent crime, aggravated assault, and robbery. Total empathy was associated with higher well-being and higher volunteer rates. Implications for geographic variation in empathy, prosocial behavior, and antisocial behavior are discussed.
Article
People often use relationships to characterize and describe places. Yet, little research examines whether people’s relationships and relational style vary across geography. The current study examined geographic variation in adult attachment orientation in a sample of 127,070 adults from the 50 United States. The states that were highest in attachment anxiety tended to be in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast region of the United States. The states that were highest in attachment avoidance tended to be in the frontier region of the United States. State-level avoidance was related to state-level indicators of relationship status, social networks, and volunteering behavior. The findings are discussed in the context of the mechanisms that may give rise to regional variation in relational behavior.
Article
There is geographical variation in the ways in which people think, feel, and behave. How are we to understand the causes and consequences of such variation? Geographical psychology is an emerging subarea of research concerned with the spatial organization of psychological phenomena and how individual characteristics, social entities, and physical features of the environment contribute to their organization. Studies at multiple levels of analysis have indicated that social influence, ecological influence, and selective migration are key mechanisms that contribute to the spatial clustering of psychological characteristics. Investigations in multiple countries have shown that the psychological characteristics common in particular regions are respectively linked to important political, economic, and health indicators. Furthermore, results from large multilevel studies have shown that the psychological characteristics of individuals interact with features of the local environment to impact psychological development and well-being. Future research is needed to better understand the scale and impact of person-environment associations over time.
Article
Intangibles such as tolerance, creativity and trust are increasingly seen as important for the geography of innovation. Yet these factors have often been poorly approximated in empirical research which has used generalised proxy measures to account for subtle personal differences. This paper argues that the psychological literature on personality traits can help address this issue and so provide important insights into the socio-institutional determinants of innovation. It uses a unique, largescale psychological survey to investigate the relationship between the “Big Five” personality traits commonly used in psychology – openness to experience, neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness – and patenting in travel-to-work areas in England and Wales. The main personality trait associated with innovation is conscientiousness, a trait defined by organization, hard work and task completion. Instrumental variable analysis using religious observance in 1851 suggests that this is a causal relationship. Research on the role of intangibles in innovation has been preoccupied by factors such as creativity and trust. The results here suggests that a new focus is needed on hard work and organizational ability.
Article
Are religious people psychologically better or worse adjusted than their nonreligious counterparts? Hundreds of studies have reported a positive relation between religiosity and psychological adjustment. Recently, however, a comparatively small number of cross-cultural studies has questioned this staple of religiosity research. The latter studies find that religious adjustment benefits are restricted to religious cultures. Gebauer, Sedikides, and Neberich (2012) suggested the religiosity as social value hypothesis (RASV) as one explanation for those cross-cultural differences. RASV states that, in religious cultures, religiosity possesses much social value, and, as such, religious people will feel particularly good about themselves. In secular cultures, however, religiosity possesses limited social value, and, as such, religious people will feel less good about themselves, if at all. Yet, previous evidence has been inconclusive regarding RASV and regarding cross-cultural differences in religious adjustment benefits more generally. To clarify matters, we conducted 3 replication studies. We examined the relation between religiosity and self-esteem (the most direct and appropriate adjustment indicator, according to RASV) in a self-report study across 65 countries (N = 2,195,301), an informant-report study across 36 countries (N = 560,264), and another self-report study across 1,932 urban areas from 243 federal states in 18 countries (N = 1,188,536). Moreover, we scrutinized our results against 7, previously untested, alternative explanations. Our results fully and firmly replicated and extended prior evidence for cross-cultural differences in religious adjustment benefits. These cross-cultural differences were best explained by RASV. (PsycINFO Database Record
Article
Regional disparities in cancer survival have been disclosed in various countries and have mostly been attributed to socio-economic factors. Here, we summarize the results from recent studies on regional variations in cancer survival in Germany. Results show that the former survival gap of cancer patients in Eastern Germany has been essentially overcome. However, survival disadvantages were observed in most deprived regions in Germany.
Article
Does it matter if your personality fits in with the personalities of the people where you live? The present study explored the links between person-city personality fit and self-esteem. Using data from 543,934 residents of 860 U.S. cities, we examined the extent to which the fit between individuals' Big Five personality traits and the Big Five traits of the city where they live (i.e., the prevalent traits of the city's inhabitants) predicts individuals' self-esteem. To provide a benchmark for these effects, we also estimated the degree to which the fit between person and city religiosity predicts individuals' self-esteem. The results provided a nuanced picture of the effects of person-city personality fit on self-esteem: We found significant but small effects of fit on self-esteem only for openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness, rather than effects for all Big Five traits. Similar results and effect sizes were observed for religiosity. We conclude with a discussion of the relevance and limitations of this study.
Article
Research has shown negative intelligence–religiosity associations among both persons (Zuckerman, Silberman, & Hall [Personality and Social Psychology Review 17 (2013) 325–354]) and countries (Lynn, Harvey, & Nyborg [Intelligence 37 (2009) 11–15]). Nevertheless, it remains unclear if these associations are stable over time or explained by education, quality of human conditions (QHC), or spatial dependence. In Study 1, we re-analyzed Zuckerman et al.'s meta-analysis, and after controlling for sample differences, the negative intelligence–religiosity link declined over time. The intelligence–religiosity link was non-significant among samples using men, pre-college participants, grade point average, and those collected after 2010. Education also partially mediated the intelligence–religiosity link. In Study 2, we re-analyzed Lynn et al.'s data from 137 countries and found that QHC positively moderated and partially mediated the positive relation between IQ and disbelief in God; this link became non-significant after controlling for spatial dependence (i.e., the extent to which adjacent countries reflect statistically non-independent observations). Although the negative intelligence–religiosity link appears more robust across people than countries, multiple variables moderate or mediate its strength, and hence, limit its generalizability across time, space, samples, measures, and levels of analysis.
Article
We review contemporary work on cultural factors affecting moral judgments and values, and those affecting moral behaviors. In both cases, we highlight examples of within-societal cultural differences in morality, to show that these can be as substantial and important as cross-societal differences. Whether between or within nations and societies, cultures vary substantially in their promotion and transmission of a multitude of moral judgments and behaviors. Cultural factors contributing to this variation include religion, social ecology (weather, crop conditions, population density, pathogen prevalence, residential mobility), and regulatory social institutions such as kinship structures and economic markets. This variability raises questions for normative theories of morality, but also holds promise for future descriptive work on moral thought and behavior.
Chapter
Political regionalism is commonly attributed to differences in historical settlement patterns, social class, and racial diversity. This book provides evidence for the importance of another factor-state-level personality-in understanding regional differences in political ideology. Drawing on research in personality and social psychology, the chapter proposes that geographical differences in voting patterns partially reflect differences in the psychological characteristics of individuals living in different states. Specifically examined are associations between state-level personality scores and voting patterns in the 1996, 2000, and 2004 U.S. Presidential elections. Results show that mean levels of openness and conscientiousness within a state predict the percentage of votes for Democratic and Republican candidates. Furthermore, state-level personality scores account for unique variance in voting patterns, even after adjusting for standard sociodemographic and political predictors. This chapter demonstrates the value of investigating psychological variables at a regional level to better understand political culture and ideology.
Article
What is the function of self-esteem? We classified relevant theoretical work into 3 perspectives. The cultural norm-fulfillment perspective regards self-esteem a result of adherence to cultural norms. The interpersonal-belonging perspective regards self-esteem as a sociometer of interpersonal belonging. The getting-ahead perspective regards self-esteem as a sociometer of getting ahead in the social world, while regarding low anxiety/neuroticism as a sociometer of getting along with others. The 3 perspectives make contrasting predictions on the relation between the Big Five personality traits and self-esteem across cultures. We tested these predictions in a self-report study (2,718,838 participants from 106 countries) and an informant-report study (837,655 informants from 64 countries). We obtained some evidence for cultural norm fulfillment, but the effect size was small. Hence, this perspective does not satisfactorily account for self-esteem's function. We found a strong relation between Extraversion and higher self-esteem, but no such relation between Agreeableness and self-esteem. These 2 traits are pillars of interpersonal belonging. Hence, the results do not fit the interpersonal-belonging perspective either. However, the results closely fit the getting-ahead perspective. The relation between Extraversion and higher self-esteem is consistent with this perspective, because Extraversion is the Big Five driver for getting ahead in the social world. The relation between Agreeableness and lower neuroticism is also consistent with this perspective, because Agreeableness is the Big Five driver for getting along with others. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
This research demonstrates wide variation in tightness-looseness (the strength of punishment and degree of latitude/permissiveness) at the state level in the United States, as well as its association with a variety of ecological and historical factors, psychological characteristics, and state-level outcomes. Consistent with theory and past research, ecological andman-made threats-such as a higher incidence of natural disasters, greater disease prevalence, fewer natural resources, and greater degree of external threat-predicted increased tightness at the state level. Tightness is also associated with higher trait conscientiousness and lower trait openness, as well as a wide array of outcomes at the state level. Compared with loose states, tight states have higher levels of social stability, including lowered drug and alcohol use, lower rates of homelessness, and lower social disorganization. However, tight states also have higher incarceration rates, greater discrimination and inequality, lower creativity, and lower happiness relative to loose states. In all, tightness-looseness provides a parsimonious explanation of the wide variation we see across the 50 states of the United States of America.