Divided We Stand: Three Psychological Regions of the United States and Their Political, Economic, Social, and Health Correlates
hmm… could you envision these maps in a tourist guide book??
There is overwhelming evidence for regional variation across the United States on a range of key political, economic, social, and health indicators. However, a substantial body of research suggests that activities in each of these domains are typically influenced by psychological variables, raising the possibility that psychological forces might be the mediating or causal factors responsible for regional variation in the key indicators. Thus, the present article examined whether configurations of psychological variables, in this case personality traits, can usefully be used to segment the country. Do regions emerge that can be defined in terms of their characteristic personality profiles? How are those regions distributed geographically? And are they associated with particular patterns of key political, economic, social, and health indicators? Results from cluster analyses of 5 independent samples totaling over 1.5 million individuals identified 3 robust psychological profiles: Friendly & Conventional, Relaxed & Creative, and Temperamental & Uninhibited. The psychological profiles were found to cluster geographically and displayed unique patterns of associations with key geographical indicators. The findings demonstrate the value of a geographical perspective in unpacking the connections between microlevel processes and consequential macrolevel outcomes.
- U.S. Regions Exhibit Distinct Personalities, Research Reveals (sciencedaily.com)
- US Regions Linked to Different Personalities (counselheal.com)
- US regions exhibit distinct personalities, research reveals (psypost.org)
- Most Neurotic & Creative States Revealed in US Personality Map (livescience.com)
- Study: Different Regions Of The U.S. Exhibit Distinct Personality Traits (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
- War is not inevitable; psychology research should promote peace (sciencedaily.com)
By Ben Thomas
Introversion, it seems, is the Internet’s current meme du jour. Articles on introverts are nothing new, of course—The Atlantic’s 2003 classic “Caring for Your Introvert” still gets passed around Facebook on a regular basis—but the topic has gained some sort of strange critical mass in the past few weeks, and has been popping up everywhere from Gawker to Forbes.
This latest swarm of articles ranges from glorified personality quizzes (31 Unmistakable Signs That You’re An Introvert”) to history lessons (“16 Outrageously Successful Introverts”) to business essays (“Why Introverts Can Make Excellent Executives”) to silly, self-aware send-ups of the trend itself (“15 Unmistakable, Outrageously Secret Signs You’re an Extrovert”). The vast majority of them also come packaged with the assumption the reader understands the basic concept of introversion, and already has a pretty clear idea of whether he or she is an introvert or an extrovert.
The Science of Personality
In short, although the science of personality is still in the relative Dark Ages, researchers have begun to draw links between what these structural and functional brain differences between personality types might mean in terms of their respective peccadilloes.
But brain differences that correlate with introversion or extroversion don’t necessarily show which of these differences—if any—cause introversion or extroversion. “We don’t have experiments that really address whether those brain differences play a causal role,” Castro says. “We’re still pretty far from having … a scientific description of personality differences at the level of cells and synapses.”
And it’s important to keep in mind that our brain structures vary from person to person along all sorts of axes that inform our personalities—not just introversion and extroversion. As the science of brain mapping develops, maybe we’ll have a myriad of new spectrums we can use to describe our personalities in terms of our gray matter.
- David Hassell: Are Introverts Smarter Than Extroverts? (internetsuccess4you.wordpress.com)
- Ambivert Represent! (cszinegh.wordpress.com)
From how secrets influence our emails to personality traits that increase the risk ofobesity – a guide to some talks with new research in personality and social psychology at the APA Convention in Honolulu, July 31 – August 4, 2013 …
Linguistic Fingerprints of Secrets
Keeping a secret not only burdens someone with the guilt of withholding information but also changes the way the person interacts with others, according to new research. In two studies, researchers looked at linguistic changes in the emails of people harboring secrets. They found that interactions with friends became more deceptive and detached, while interactions with acquaintances became more superficially positive and frequent.
Judging Health Based on Behavior, Personality
Can you accurately size up someone’s health just by watching them? In a recent set of studies, researchers sought to answer this question by filming research participants and asking research assistants to assess their health or behavior. In one study, researchers judged participants on 15 health dimensions – including general health, tobacco use, alcohol use, physical activity, sleep quality, cholesterol, and blood pressure – based on just 5 minutes of film. They found that intuitive snap judgments of health can be surprisingly accurate.
Personalty Traits That Increase Risk of Obesity
A complex mix of biological and social factors affects a person’s likelihood of becoming obese. Across four studies that looked at more than 8,900 people, researchers have found significant links between personality traits and obesity – showing that that high neuroticism and low conscientiousness, among other traits, are consistently associated with increased risk for obesity. These associations are similar across samples that vary in ethnicity, age, and socioeconomic status.
The Benefits of Confronting Bias
Confronting discrimination may boost your well-being, according to new research. In three studies, researchers found that while experiencing discrimination is associated withdepression, confronting that bias gives people more autonomy, which helps to moderate the stressful situation. These results were true not only for minorities but also for Whites.
Being Grateful Trains Our Brains for the Good
Feeling grateful can train us to feel better, finds a new study. Asking people daily for one week to write about three good things that made them grateful increased their well-being after the week, and even five weeks later. Researchers think that the gratitude exercise trains the brain for cognitive processes that support well-being, such as increasing attention so that individuals are more likely to notice benefits in their lives.
Two Hormones Together Explain Status-Seeking
Looking at only testosterone as a hormonal measure of status-seeking behaviors is incomplete, argues new research. Testosterone’s influence on status-related behavior critically depends on levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Six studies suggest that researchers must consider the effects of testosterone and cortisol together. The studies show that a profile of high testosterone and low cortisol is associated with leadership, social dominance, risk-taking, emotional stability, and monetary reward maximization. On the other hand, a hormone profile of high testosterone and high cortisol is associated with subordinate behaviors, socioemotional sensitivity, anxiety, and monetary loss.
Positive Anticipation Helps Overcome Stress
Past research has shown that eliciting positive emotions immediately to offset stress can ameliorate the negative effects of the stressor. Now researchers are testing the effects on stress of anticipating positive events – as that more realistically mirrors how people use emotion to regulate stress in daily life. In two studies, they found that anticipating a positive event leads to improved recovery after stress and is more effective in coping with stress than experiencing a positive event just prior to being stressed.
Recognizing that Life is Meaningful
In our never-ending quest to understand the meaning of life, social psychologists are bringing a different perspective: urging us to think of meaning as an experience that involves seeing, recognizing, and noticing rather than something to search for or struggle to create. Simply maintaining a positive mood, for example, can facilitate meaning in our everyday lives and connect us more to the world.
It’s in their genes” is a common refrain from scientists when asked about factors that allow centenarians to reach age 100 and beyond. Up until now, research has focused on genetic variations that offer a physiological advantage such as high levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol. But researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology of Yeshiva University have found that personality traits like being outgoing, optimistic, easygoing, and enjoying laughter as well as staying engaged in activities may also be part of the longevity genes mix….
“When I started working with centenarians, I thought we’d find that they survived so long in part because they were mean and ornery,” said Nir Barzilai, M.D., the Ingeborg and Ira Leon Rennert Chair of Aging Research, director of Einstein’s Institute for Aging Research and co-corresponding author of the study. “But when we assessed the personalities of these 243 centenarians, we found qualities that clearly reflect a positive attitude towards life. Most were outgoing, optimistic and easygoing. They considered laughter an important part of life and had a large social network. They expressed emotions openly rather than bottling them up.” In addition, the centenarians had lower scores for displaying neurotic personality and higher scores for being conscientious compared with a representative sample of the U.S. population.
“Some evidence indicates that personality can change between the ages of 70 and 100, so we don’t know whether our centenarians have maintained their personality traits across their entire lifespans,” continued Dr. Barzilai. “Nevertheless, our findings suggest that centenarians share particular personality traits and that genetically-based aspects of personality may play an important role in achieving both good health and exceptional longevity.”..
- Do You Have What it Takes to Live to 100? (health.usnews.com)
- The Search For Longevity Genes (extremelongevity.net)
- The mystery of longevity (news.nationalpost.com)
- Clue to centenarians’ longevity lies in Mediterranean diet (mnn.com)
- The How and Why of 100 Years of Happiness (psychologytoday.com)
- The How and Why of 100 Years of Happiness (my.psychologytoday.com)
- Two New Longevity Genes Discovered (extremelongevity.net)
- Turn on Your Longevity Genes (lewrockwell.com)
- MORE ON LONGEVITY: Telomerase Gene Therapy Boosts Mouse Longevity. “This is an interesting result … (pjmedia.com)
- Angiotensin Receptor Gene Variant Linked to Extreme Longevity (extremelongevity.net)
- Telomerase Gene Therapy Boosts Mouse Longevity (futurepundit.com)
Excerpt from a summary of the report at Pew Internet (February 29, 2012)
Teens and young adults brought up from childhood with a continuous connection to each other and to information will be nimble, quick-acting multitaskers who count on the Internet as their external brain and who approach problems in a different way from their elders, according to a new survey of technology experts.
Many of the experts surveyed by Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center and the Pew Internet Project said the effects of hyperconnectivity and the always-on lifestyles of young people will be mostly positive between now and 2020. But the experts in this survey also predicted this generation will exhibit a thirst for instant gratification and quick fixes, a loss of patience, and a lack of deep-thinking ability due to what one referred to as “fast-twitch wiring.”….
…This publication is part of a Pew Research Center series that captures people’s expectations for the future of the internet, in the process presenting a snapshot of current attitudes. Find out more at:http://pewinternet.org/topics/Future-of-the-internet.aspx andhttp://imaginingtheinternet.org.
- Pew – Millennials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives (bespacific.com)
- Millennials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives (learningwithtechs.wordpress.com)
- Pew Internet gazes into the ‘crystal ball’ of today’s hyperconnected millennials (centerforhealthmediapolicy.com)
- Millennials ‘benefit and suffer’ from hyperconnected lives: report (digitallife.today.msnbc.msn.com)
- [STUDY] How Hyperconnectivity Affects Young People (readwriteweb.com)
From the 14 January 2012 Medical News Today item
Quick, come up with an imaginary co-worker.
Did you imagine someone who is positive, confident, and resourceful? Who rises to the occasion in times of trouble? If so, then chances are that you also display those traits in your own life, a new study finds.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers have found that study participants who conjured positive imaginary co-workers contributed more in the actual workplace, both in job performance and going above and beyond their job descriptions to help others.
The results showed that your perceptions of others – even ones that are made up – says a lot about what kind of person you really are, said Peter Harms, UNL assistant professor of management and the study’s lead author. Imagining coworkers instead of reporting on how you perceive your actual coworkers produces more accurate ratings of having a positive worldview, he said, because it strips away the unique relational baggage that one may have with the people they know.
“When you make up imaginary peers, they are completely a product of how you see the world,” Harms said. “Because of that we can gain better insight into your perceptual biases. That tells us a lot about how you see the world, how you interpret events and what your expectations of others are.” ….
- How you envision others says a lot about you in real life (scienceblog.com)
- Imagine that: How you envision others says a lot about you in real life (eurekalert.org)
- What is The Center of Your Daily Activities (socyberty.com)
What are Job Candidates Really Like? Interview Techniques by an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist
Little things can be revealing in an interview, and a skilled interviewer can look beneath the surface to discover the real candidateBy Clif Boutelle, SIOP Public RelationsSelecting the right people to lead and build effective executive teams is critical to developing successful organizations, and the interviewing process can be the most important step.Hiring ineffective leaders can lead to a variety of negative outcomes for an organization, including diminished morale and business performance. That’s why companies will often turn to executive selection experts like Dean Stamoulis, who heads the Global Executive Assessment Practice for New York City-based Russell Reynolds Associates.He has conducted hundreds of interviews for top-level positions during the past 18 years. Employing his background in industrial-organizational psychology, he has the ability to delve beneath the superficial surface to determine the real substance and skills of candidates.“What you see is not always what you get, and that’s why it is important to be able to provide a full assessment of a candidate including traits and characteristics not readily apparent in an interview or with provided background information,” said Stamoulis, who is author of Senior Executive Assessment: A Key to Responsible Corporate Governance.He noted that too often interviewers become enamored with a charismatic candidate who makes a good first impression, instead of looking at relevant past performance and other indicators of leadership. It can work the other way as well. Some of the best executives do not make great first impressions. Looking deeper than the initial perception of a candidate can reveal skills needed for the position as well as leadership talents.“Many interviewers truly do not focus on the key elements needed for the position,” Stamoulis explained. “It’s not that hard, but a lot of people don’t do it.”One reason is that job descriptions are often too broad, he said. I-O psychologists can help organizations conduct a job assessment outlining the kind of skills needed for the position. They also possess the knowledge that can identify genuine leadership and personality traits of effective leaders and make valid predictions of likely success.What are some of the traits Stamoulis looks for in candidates? There are many, he says, but certainly breadth of knowledge and attention are important. A full and rich conversation covering different facets of the business, including both the historical and sociological elements, shows breadth about the business.
- Interview Technique To Determine What They Are Really Like (medicalnewstoday.com)
- 6 Things Job Interviewers Want to Know (livescience.com)
- Atlanta Group Presents Issues in Business Psychology at National Conference (prweb.com)
- Introduction to I/O Psychology (psyc450.wordpress.com)
People in different cultures make different assumptions about the people around them, according to an upcoming study published inPsychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The researchers studied the brain waves of people with Caucasian and Asian backgrounds and found that cultural differences in how we think about other people are embedded deep in our minds. Cultural differences are evident very deep in the brain, challenging a commonsense notion that culture is skin deep.
Genes linked to the immune system can affect healthy people’s personality traits as well as the risk of developing mental illness and suicidal behaviour, reveals a thesis from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Inflammation is part of the immune system and is responsible for defending humans against infection as well as fascilitating the healing of injuries, and is therefore vital for our survival. Research has demonstrated that inflammatory processes also have other roles to play as inflammatory substances produced by the body influence mechanisms in the brain involving learning and memory.
Inflammatory substances produced in moderate quantities in the brain can be beneficial during the formation of new brain cells, for example. However, an increase in the levels of these substances as is the case during illness, can result in damage to the brain.
“Previous studies have shown that individuals suffering from various mental illnesses have an increased peripheral inflammation, but the reason behind this increase is not known,” says Petra Suchankova Karlsson, who wrote the thesis. “It has been suggested that the stress that goes with mental illness activates the body’s immune system, but it is also possible that inflammation in the body affects the brain, which in turn results in mental illness.”
Previous studies have focused on how environmental and psychological factors affect the immune system’s impact on the brain. Suchankova’s thesis presents, for the first time, results that suggest that several different genes linked to the immune system are associated with healthy people’s personality traits. It also demonstrates that some of these genes are associated with an increased risk of developing schizophrenia or suicidal behaviour….
The news item may be found here.
- Four out of the five principle personality “factors” as typically characterized by psychologists — conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness and openness/intellect — were associated with differences in regional brain mass
- Participants who described themselves as extroverted had a significantly larger medial orbitofrontol cortex — a part of the brain active in considering rewards. Perhaps not surprisingly, those self-described as conscientious had a bigger lateral prefrontal cortex
- Personality is not an immutable force, given that the brain grows and changes in reaction to experience
- Openness and intellect didn’t correspond to any particular brain structure