Northerners ‘are the friendliest’

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Published: Wednesday 25th March 2015 by The News Editor

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If you want friendly neighbours, head north – preferably as far as Scotland – and avoid London and the sour southern counties, new research suggests.

But if you like to party, or enjoy unconventional company, the capital is where you need to be.

The on-line survey of almost 400,000 Britons highlighted significant personality differences between regions, and confirmed the widely-held view that friendlier folk are found up north.

People throughout Scotland emerged as having high levels of “agreeableness”, reflecting traits such as friendliness, co-operation, kindness and trust.

The same was generally true of northerners, as well as residents in pockets of East Anglia and the South West.

Londoners, in contrast, scored lower on the agreeableness scale, coming over uncooperative, quarrelsome and irritable, as did people in the Home Counties and various eastern districts.

However city dwellers living in London as well as Manchester appeared to be the most energetic, enthusiastic and social – traits falling under the heading of “extraversion”. In comparison people in the east Midlands, Wales, Humberside, the North and East Scotland were more reserved and introverted.

Previous research has linked extraversion with physical health, well-being, leadership and occupational performance.

Londoners and people from Oxford, Cambridge, Brighton, Bristol, Manchester and Glasgow also scored highly for “openness”, showing that they were creative, curious and intelligent. Openness is associated with creativity, unconventional lifestyles and liberal attitudes.

The most conscientious individuals were found in southern England, and the least emotionally stable – or calm, relaxed and happy – in Wales and parts of the Midlands.

Lead researcher Dr Jason Rentfrow, from Cambridge University’s Department of Psychology, said: “Understanding how personality traits differ by region is more than just a bit of fun.

“Geographical differences are associated with a range of economic, social and health outcomes – and hence how important resources are allocated. Although participants in an on-line test are self-selecting, the demographic characteristics are representative of the British population, so we can develop an accurate snapshot of the psychology of the nation.”

The study, published in the on-line journal Public Library of Science ONE, is based on data collected for the BBC Lab UK project Big Personality Test.

BBC Lab UK, a collaboration between the BBC and scientific community, conducted 11 scientific experiments and surveys involving members of the public between 2009 and 2012.

Published: Wednesday 25th March 2015 by The News Editor

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