Pushy London dweller or agreeable and open northerner? Which personality trait fits me best?
Drawing stereotypes based on the area you come from or live in is nothing new, but this week the old adages were given a fresh outlook thanks to the findings of new ‘personality maps,’ developed by researchers at Cambridge University.
In the largest study of its kind, 400,000 people from across all 380 local authorities in the UK took part in a questionnaire that measured personality traits like openness, extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism and conscientiousness. Those working on the project were looking for personality patterns, one can only presume above and beyond what we all think we know.
Like the fact that everyone from the north is friendly and agreeable. We all still leave our doors unlocked and whistle a friendly hello to everyone who walks by.
In contrast, those living in the capital are hard, cold yet ambitious. Would sell their own mother to get ahead, but don’t try and talk to them on the tube. They’re far too busy.
But what about people like me? Those born into a so-called agreeable area but move into a neurotic neighbourhood.
Are we self-consciously seeking out a better fit? Not that I’m suffering from neurosis, I hasten to add.
Can certain personalities only thrive in particular postcodes?
I think not. Which is why I look on and laugh at such pieces of research. While some may state these latest findings provide a ‘factual basis’ for the old stereotypes, yours truly is still a little sceptical about the weight of the results.
Never one to completely write something off, I thought I’d try out one of the online tests to find out where those in the know think I would be happiest. Responding to questions like, ‘I see myself as someone who is reserved’, and ‘I see myself as someone who is generally trusting,’ the questionnaire revealed the area I would be most content was, wait for it... The Ribble Valley.
‘We predict that a personality type like yours would experience 84 per cent life satisfaction in Ribble Valley.’ Now I’ve visited the area and it’s very pretty, but really, is it the best fit for someone who described themselves as extrovert, ambitious and sociable? I’m still not convinced.
And does this mean I’ll only experience 16 per cent life satisfaction in the Big Smoke? I’ll take my chances. With the rest of the rude and miserable folk.