Posts Tagged ‘Cambridge University’

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Sep 24th 2009 at 11:00am UTC

What Your Playlist Says About You

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

What does the music you listen to say about your personality, and what determines the kinds of music we like? Watch this video by path-breaking Cambridge University psychologist Jason Rentfrow and find out.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sun May 24th 2009 at 2:00pm UTC

Geography of Personality

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

MapScroll links to a series of “new and improved” maps of Big Five personality types from the expanded (Canadian) edition of my book Who’s Your City?. Based on data collected by Cambridge University psychologist Jason Rentfrow and his collaborators, these new maps ignore state and national boundaries and include the U.S. and Canada.

The first map is agreeable types.

The second is conscientious personalities.

The third is for extroverts who are more likely to move according to Rentfrow and company’s research.

The fourth is for open-to-experience personality types, also more likely to move.

The fifth is for neurotics.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Mar 13th 2009 at 9:00am UTC

What Makes Happy States

Friday, March 13th, 2009

So the past couple of days at the MPI – under the ever-watchful analytical eye of Charlotta Mellander – we took the Gallup happy states data and compared it to various measures of state economies. This is a first cut analysis and it’s dealing only with correlation or association and not causation, but the relationships are nonetheless interesting. Here’s a quick rundown.

Our analysis is in sync with what Will Wikinson already has pointed to: State happiness is associated with income (a correlation of .33 with our measure of average income), as well as housing prices (.49). Makes sense: People are willing to pay to live in happy places, and people with more income have more choices. And it’s even more closely associated with levels of human capital (that is, share of adults with a bachelor’s degree or above – it’s . 77)

And what about the creative class? Happy states appear to be creative states – at least as measured by the share of people employed in creative class jobs (with a correlation of .48). The correlations are even higher for the the super-creative core and the the overall creativity index (.53).

Makes you wonder: Are creatives more likely to live in happy places or are they more likely to be happy people? Well… psychologists have identified a powerful relationship between creativity and happiness. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi finds that engaging in creative activities like writing, playing music, computer programming, mountain climbing, or chess is a major source of happiness. But in her workplace studies, Teresa Amabile of Harvard Business School says it works the other way around: She finds that it’s happiness – or should I say happy workplaces – that generate creative thinking and workplace innovation as opposed to vice versa. Psychologist Barbara Fredricksons suggests that “positive” people are more open-minded, less racially biased, more likely to see the bigger picture, and ultimately more creative. So maybe this kind of thing scales up from who we are and what we do to where we live.

On that score, yes, happy states are also apparently those greater concentrations bohemians (.43), immigrants (.36 ), and gays (.32), as well as states with higher levels of high-tech industry (.22) or those with more innovative potential.

One worrying finding: States with a large concentration of the working class are far less happy – with a negative correlation of (-.51). That’s downright unhappy. Perhaps Marx was right after all about the alienation that comes from industrial work – or in this case the unhappiness found in working class locations. We’ll be doing more on the connection between economic structure and state happiness in the future.

Is there any connection between between happy states and the personality types that live there? Using data provided by Cambridge University psychologist Jason Rentfrow we were able to compare happy states to the concentrations of the five major personality types – extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness-to-experience, and neuroticism. While it may not come as a big surprise, neurotic states were far less happy states – the correlation between the two being (-.62). The correlations for all four other personality types were all insignificant.

Take a look at the graphs here and let us know what you see – and think.




Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Nov 20th 2008 at 9:23am UTC

Analyze This

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

The relationship between our personalities and our choice of locations is one of the hottest topics for understanding cities and urban areas. A new study in Psychological Science shows the connection between psychological “temperament” and migration. Not a psychology expert myself, I consulted with Cambridge University psychologist, Jason Rentfrow co-author of a path-breaking study of personality and place.

As Rentfrow explains, the concept of temperament comes from “developmental psychology and is generally regarded as the inherited.” They appear early in life and serve as the foundation for personality. In other words, they are the aspects of our personalities that are tied most closely to our genetics. There are three kinds of temperament – activity, sociability, and emotionality – and the study looked at the effects of these types on who was likely to migrate and where.

The study shows that temperament or personality influences whether someone moves, how frequently they move, and the kind of place they move to. Highly sociable people are the most likely to move, and they are more likely to move to urban areas than rural areas. The study suggests one explanation may be that urban areas have more people and therefore provide sociable types with more opportunities to meet and mingle with others. People with an active temperament were more likely to move, and to move more often.

I asked Rentfrow for his thoughts on the possible relationship between active temperament and open-to-experience people. My interviews with creative-class types reflected a preference for activity or “energy” often combining an intellectual energy with a need for outdoor activity as well as for street level cultural activity. He responded that “being open and curious involves having an active imagination. And physical activity is sometimes required to satisfy intellectual activity. ”

The study is here.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Sep 10th 2008 at 3:37pm UTC

Who’s Your State

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Cambridge researcher and MPI affiliate and collaborator, Jason Rentfrow, in today’s Financial Times:

Many of the cultural stereotypes of Americans – such as the neurotic New Yorker, the friendly Midwesterner and the chilled-out California dude – may have some basis in fact. A study by researchers at Cambridge University in the UK found that the personalities of people in the US often differ according to the state in which they live.

The research team also found that personalities are geographically clustered. For instance, “neuroticism” was highest in the east along a line stretching from Maine to Louisiana, and lowest in the west, suggesting the country has an identifiable “stress belt”.

Prof Rentfrow said that the strongest personality traits within a given population become self-reinforcing by influencing the area’s culture. Where the population was creative and intellectual – as was found to be the case in New York and California – one might expect to find people who were interested in art, literature and science, he said. This, in turn, leads to the creation of universities and museums, which then have an effect on the views and values of the local people and encourage more creative and imaginative people to move to the region.

Prof Rentfrow said his work had applications in business. Companies planning to relocate may consider the personalities of people in the region as they consider their potential pool of employees. And start-ups may want to go where “openness” is high and there are more patents produced.