Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

If you're a Wisconsinite, are you an extrovert?

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Greg Peck
Friday, November 1, 2013

A website story at science.time.com features a new psychology study that created “America's Mood Map” and an interactive guide to the “United States of Attitude.”

The story by Jeffrey Kluger and Chris Wilson tells how a multinational team of researchers led by psychologist and American expatriate Jason Rentfrow of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom tried to draw clear regional lines. The researchers created state-by-state ratings of personality and temperament.

The researchers found, for example, that West Virginia is the most neurotic state, that Utah is the most agreeable and—get this—that Wisconsin residents are our nation's most extroverted people.

The story's authors wrote, “For a country that features the word united so prominently in its name, the U.S. is a pretty fractious place. We splinter along fault lines of income, education, religion, race, hyphenated origin, age and politics. Then too there's temperament. We're coarse or courtly, traditionalist or rebel, amped up or laid-back. And it's no secret that a lot of that seems to be determined by—or at least associated with—where we live.”

Some results were surprising, but others weren't.

As far as “the ebullient folks of Wisconsin,” being extroverts, the study suggests you picture fans at a Packers game—even if Green Bay loses.

“The lowest score went to the temperamentally snowbound folks of Vermont. Utah is the most agreeable place in the country, and Washington, D.C., is the least (gridlock, anyone?).

“For conscientiousness, South Carolina takes the finishing-their-homework-on-time prize, while the independent-minded Yanks of Maine—who prefer to do things their own way and in their own time, thank you very much—come in last. ... Washington, D.C., takes the prize for the most open place—even if their low agreeableness score means they have no idea what to do with all of the ideas they tolerate. North Dakotans, meantime, prefer things predictable and familiar, finishing last on openness.”

The exhaustive study stretched 13 years and incorporated almost 1.6 million survey respondents. It was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Check out the website to take TIME magazine's test and find out which state most suits you.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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