Are climate and personality related?

by on December 23, 2017 at 2:30 am in Data Source, Philosophy | Permalink

To test the relationship between ambient temperature and personality, we conducted two large-scale studies within two geographically large yet culturally distinct countries: China and the United States. Using data from 59 Chinese cities (N = 5,587), machine learning and multilevel analyses revealed that individuals who grew up in areas with milder temperatures (i.e., closer to 22 °C) scored higher on personality factors related to socialization/stability (agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability) and personal growth/plasticity (extraversion, openness to experience). These same relationships between temperature clemency and personality factors were replicated in a larger dataset of 12,499 ZIP-code level locations (the lowest geographic level feasible) within the United States (N = 1,660,638).

That is from Wenqi Wei, et.al., via Kevin Lewis.

1 Sandia December 23, 2017 at 3:22 am

Couldn’t they figure out a way to reduce the dimensionality even further?

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2 benjamin December 23, 2017 at 10:05 am

“dimensionality” ??

well, the researchers here certainly had big problems defining the question they want answered… and how to answer it objectively.

Somehow they chose “ambient temperature” (not climate) versus “personality” as their key question.
(… of what practical value is an answer to that odd question?)

Data on ambient temperature is easy to get, which is why it was selected. Indoor temperatures, humidity, sunshine/clouds, precipitation, storms, etc. were ignored by these researchers — why?
(…how many other factors affect human personality??)

“Personality” is so easy to measure objectively and compare across international cultures — there’s no doubts about that methodology at all?

What’s wrong with selecting two nations non-randomly… and selecting non-random samples of their populations to scientifically test your null hypothesis (ambient temperature does not affect personality)?

I smell a Nobel here

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3 GoneWithTheWind December 23, 2017 at 10:38 am

He who creates the test, the questions, determines the results. I have no doubt that someone else with a different agenda could easily have the opposite results. What always surprises me in these things is how easily people are duped into thinking this is science/scientific and not agenda driven. Perhaps the real question is: is climate and naivete related?

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4 carlospln December 23, 2017 at 2:36 pm

Here’s the way science works:

1) you’ve got to ID some kind of correlation in data

2) you’ve got to propose some kind of putative mechanism that would cause 1)

Where is the second item?

This paper is just noise.

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5 Anon7 December 23, 2017 at 3:47 am

This explains why the people of Sao Paulo (average temp is 22 +/-3) like T.G. are so agreeable, conscientious, and emotionally stable.

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6 Vox clamantis in deserto December 23, 2017 at 4:09 am

Yes, but Espírito Santo doesn’t lag behing either. Actually, many European immigrants moved there, so they could enjoy the pleaseant weather. Moravians, Pomeranians, Germans, Bohemians, Ruthenes, Calabrese, Boeotian, Little Russians, White Russians, you name it.

Also, Mendes, in Rio de Janeiro State, was oficially declared by the U.N. to possess the fourth best climate in mankind’s history. As an old Brazilianmsong says, “again, Europe bows before Brazil”.

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7 Lanigram December 23, 2017 at 2:41 pm

See “Do fake Brazlians have more sock puppets?” by Lanigram et al, “Nobody Reads This Academic Journal”.

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8 Vox clamantis in deserto December 23, 2017 at 3:49 pm

There is no such a journal!

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9 HBD Person December 23, 2017 at 3:49 am

Is personality related to biology? Yes. Is biology related to geography? Yes. Is geography related to clkmate? Yes.

Its still worth studying of course, but a relationship between personality and climate is the expected result a priori.

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10 clockwork_prior December 23, 2017 at 5:45 am

Which certainly explains the immense differences between the English and Australians – a priori, right?

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11 HBD Person December 23, 2017 at 5:59 am

I think it does. I am sure there are personality differences between the English and Australians that are in part genetic. So since theres a genetic difference and a climate difference there should be a climate-gene correlation even among the English and Australians.

But I hear your point, which is that they have the same ancestry, so their genes cant explain their personality differences. Even if it were true that they are genetically identical, picking out an exceptional case of English and Australians doesnt make the climate-gene correlation among all regions and people equal to 0, so there is still some relationship generally.

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12 carlospln December 23, 2017 at 2:38 pm

You are out of your fucking mind.

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13 Crikey December 23, 2017 at 3:58 am

Here, when you get sick of people, you can always walk outside. Not being cooped up with people over winter probably explains why Australian conversational skills are minimal compared to Northerly Americans.

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14 Vox clamantis in deserto December 23, 2017 at 4:12 am

Brazilians do not say cooped up with people over winter and yet we are witty and engaging conversationalists.

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15 Crikey December 23, 2017 at 4:32 am

Huh?

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16 Vox clamantis in deserto December 23, 2017 at 6:27 am

Must I spell it to you?

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17 Crikey December 23, 2017 at 6:39 am

Totes amazeballs.

18 Vox clamantis in deserto December 23, 2017 at 7:30 am

Thanks.

19 Crikey December 23, 2017 at 7:43 am

mmm…

20 Vox clamantis in deserto December 23, 2017 at 7:54 am

You spend much of your time cooped with people, don’t you?

21 Crikey December 23, 2017 at 8:17 am

Sorry. I’m not very good at this whole… conversation thing.

22 Vox clamantis in deserto December 23, 2017 at 9:32 am

Can’t you move to a warmer climate?

23 Crikey December 24, 2017 at 1:02 am

Yeah… I don’t think that is going to help.

24 Vox clamantis in deserto December 23, 2017 at 4:08 am

Yes, but Espírito Santo doesn’t lag behing either. Actually, many European immigrants moved there, so they could enjoy the pleaseant weather. Moravians, Pomeranians, Germans, Bohemians, Ruthenes, Calabrese, Boeotian, Little Russians, White Russians, you name it.

Also, Mendes, in Rio de Janeiro State was declared by the U.N. to possess the fourth best climate in mankind’s history. As an old Brazilianmsong says, “again, Europe bows before Brazil”.

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25 Tim Worstall December 23, 2017 at 4:47 am

Well, that explains the jokes about how reserved the Finns are then….

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26 rayward December 23, 2017 at 6:09 am

Does this explain why Latins are hot headed (i.e., the hot climate)? Then what explains Germans? Is it the food?

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27 Vox clamantis in deserto December 23, 2017 at 6:31 am

If you ate Sauerkraut and Pumpernickel all time, you would be as irascible as the Huns.

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28 Evans_KY December 23, 2017 at 7:50 am

How might higher ambient temperature affect life outcomes and society at large?

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/12/hot-weather-fetuses/547406/

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29 TMC December 23, 2017 at 10:23 am

That article is Vox worthy dumb.

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30 Bill December 23, 2017 at 9:20 am

So, global warming will give us better and more agreeable personalities.

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31 Vox clamantis in deserto December 23, 2017 at 9:32 am

So we can make the end of mankind more enjoyable!!!!

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32 chuck martel December 23, 2017 at 9:59 am

Exploring stereotypes with statistical and psychological bullshit. The post-modern equivalent of trying to determine how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

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33 Todd K December 23, 2017 at 10:04 am

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin is easy to determine once you know the area of the head of a pin and assume a waltz.

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34 celestus December 23, 2017 at 10:14 am

So regressing dependent variables on two independent variables (temperature and square of temperature) counts as “machine learning” now?

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35 Elite December 23, 2017 at 10:16 am

If the people of Boston are any indication, this is absolutely true.

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36 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 23, 2017 at 10:17 am

Russians, man.

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37 Dick the Butcher December 23, 2017 at 10:33 am

Ach du lieber Himmel!

And, “temperature clemency” seems to be assigning human/anthropomorphic qualities to climate.

Anyhow, having wasted some lifetime in West Germany with the cold war/US military, I sometimes (when I wasn’t drinking or training) mused at how the drab, wet weather may have affected the indigenous population leading to two world wars and worse.

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38 msgkings December 24, 2017 at 2:41 am

Well said. Of course climate affects culture, and personality is a big part of culture. How could it not be?

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39 Engineer December 23, 2017 at 12:25 pm

Some years ago, while the competition between Route 128 and Silicon Valley to be the focus of computer technology in the US was still undecided, I recall reading an analysis that ascribed the different cultures of the two hubs to weather.

The Route 128 area, reflecting the harsher and more unforgiving weather, encouraged careful planning and considered development. Winter is always coming. The Silicon Valley ethos, reflecting the always mild California weather, cultivated a “lets try it, if it doesn’t work, we can always do something else tomorrow”. Its always summer.

One could believe as much of that as one wishes. But one can’t help but notice that Digital Equipment doesn’t exist anymore – I guess winter did come for them.

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40 Bill December 23, 2017 at 3:13 pm

One of the big differences between California and Massachusetts is the enforcement of covenants not to compete, making it easier for California engineers to leave and start up their own businesses.

Sometimes the environment is more than the weather.

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41 carlospln December 24, 2017 at 3:18 pm

” But one can’t help but notice that Digital Equipment doesn’t exist anymore – I guess winter did come for them”

Neither does Compaq-nor Hewlett Packard [in its nascent form].

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42 Jer December 23, 2017 at 4:19 pm

Interesting.
It is too bad they didn’t include personality factors that were actually valuable (dutifulness, ability to be focussed and dedicated, attention to detail, analytical and rational, perseverance…)

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43 Daniel December 24, 2017 at 9:15 am

I can tell Jer comes from a cold ,harsh climate.

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