A new study suggests that people who grow up in cold climates are less likely to be agreeable and open to new ideas. I think I speak for all of us when I say that’s the type of stupid assertion that oughta earn you a pop on the snout.
Kidding. But the study does suggest that kids who grow up in San Diego are nicer and more curious than the ones who grow up in Deadtoe, Alaska.
“People who grew up in regions with average temperatures close to 72 degrees,” says the Washington Post’s account, “tend to be more agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, extroverted and open.”
Sure, agreeableness is a salutary aspect, unless defined in the brainless, California style of “whatever, man”:
“Hey, your pants are on fire!”
“I know. It’s all good.”
Apparently, it’s better to be nice, which is “agreeable” plus smiling when you don’t agree.
As for conscientiousness: depends how you define the term. A San Diegan on an average sunny day thinks: “Everything’s perfect. Guess I’ll cross the street now and think about the health of the world’s whale population.”
A Minnesotan on Dec. 5 after winter showed up and kicked us in the knee with a steel-toed boot via a wind like needles and cold we felt in our molars thinks: “Before I cross this ice-slathered street, I’d better check for a bus sliding sideways out of control through the intersection.”
When you have to walk down icy steps as though carrying Fabergé eggs filled with nitroglycerin, you are very conscientious.
Emotionally stable? This is confusing. No visitor to Minnesota ever thinks “these strange, loud folk are slaves to great passions — laughing one minute, weeping the next, making wild gesticulations as they veer from one mood to the next.”
Extroverted? That’s us. Drive down a county road, and if you finally see a truck coming the other way, chances are the driver might raise a finger in greeting. There are churches where people shake hands during the service, for heaven’s sake. You know who was an extrovert? Charles Manson. And he was from California.
The article wondered what effect global warming might have on personality. Really. If the temps bump up a degree, will we become more extroverted? If it’s 4 above zero instead of 2, you’ll be pumping gas and suddenly shout, “Let me tell you about my chronic sciatica” to the guy at the next pump? And he’ll say, “I’m all ears.” And then you’ll hug.
If I wanted that sort of emotional nudity, I’d move south to a warmer place. Like, say, Kansas.