"Minnesota Nice" is an often-used term that describes the congenial, agreeable nature of the residents of the state, but have you ever wondered if the phenomenon is true? Researchers at the University of Cambridge (U.K.) have published the results of a 13-year study that is affectionately being called "America's mood map," and Minnesota was ranked the 6th most agreeable state, confirming that the residents truly are Minnesota Nice.
The study, conducted by Peter Rentfrow and colleagues, was published online last week in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The research group conducted over 1.6 million surveys of American residents in the continental states and Washington, D.C. They excluded Alaska and Hawaii from their study because they received too few survey responses from those states. All participants were given a version of the OCEAN survey, which provides information on five different aspects of personality: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Entitled, "Divided We Stand: Three Psychological Regions of the United States and Their Political, Economic, Social, and Health Correlates," their analysis of the survey results identified three major areas of the U.S. with unique personalities. They termed the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast the "temperamental and uninhibited" region, while the South and Midwest states were clustered in the "friendly and conventional" region; lastly, the West, West coast, and Southwest were described as the "relaxed and creative region."
The study went on to give some ideas as to why states' personalities may have developed into these regions, based on historical events in the formation of the United States. This included a hypothesis that the date at which a state joined the U.S. was correlated to how open and relaxed the residents were - the later the year of statehood, the more relaxed the residents. Of course, it's interesting to know which states top the list in one category or another: Minnesota's neighbor state, Wisconsin, tops the list as the most extroverted state, while Washington, D.C., tops the list as most open. If Minnesota is ranked the 6th most agreeable state, which is ranked #1? That would be Utah, followed by Tennessee and North Carolina in 2nd and 3rd most agreeable, respectively.
One interesting outcome of the study is that people may identify with one state or another. TIME magazine developed a short, online quiz that can match your personality with a particular state. Their quiz is a shortened version of the OCEAN survey. With which state do you identify?