Is Your Temperament Temperate?
Your hometown climate may influence your personality.
By March 1, 2018 - last reviewed on May 8, 2018published
The region you hail from has likely shaped many aspects of your identity, from the slang you use to your favorite foods and sports teams. According to research in Nature Human Behavior, it may also help explain aspects of your personality.
Psychologists in China, the U.K., and the U.S. teamed up to examine the connection between climate and major personality traits, analyzing questionnaire data from thousands of Chinese people living in their home cities—and in a follow up, more than a million U.S. residents. They also accounted for other factors that could influence personality, such as age and population density, "to see if there is an association between temperature and personality that exists over and above these variables," explains University of Cambridge psychologist Jason Rentfrow.
The researchers found that people from regions with more comfortable average temperatures (closer to 72 degrees, for the purposes of the study) tended to rate higher on agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, extraversion, and openness to experience. These correlations can't prove that differences in climate necessarily cause differences in personality, and psychologist Evert Van de Vliert, who was not involved in the study, cautions against taking the results as evidence of "climatic determinism." But the research team theorizes that fairer climates, by encouraging individuals to spend more time outside, might lead to more social interactions and new experiences, exerting an indirect influence on one's traits.