What is the most extroverted US city?

Psychologists have profiled the average personality of nearly 900 cities. So where is your spiritual home?

They say that birds of a feather flock together - so how does your personality fit with the people living nearby? Do you sometimes wish you lived among people who were just a bit more adventurous? Or would you prefer to live in a quieter, more reserved city?

These were the kinds of questions that Wiebke Bleidorn, at the University of California, Davis hoped to answer with her latest research project. Using a vast online survey of more than 500,000 participants, she has profiled 860 cities across the United States of America.

The survey measured the so-called "Big Five" personality traits (emotional stability, extraversion, openness to new experiences, agreeableness, and conscientiousness) using well-established questionnaires developed by other psychologists.

Sure enough, certain patterns emerged in their responses, recently published in Psychological Science journal. True to the neurotic stereotype, New Yorkers tended to be slightly less emotionally stable than people in San Francisco, say; indeed, of the 860 cities measured, just 70 cities had lower scores than New York, with North Hollywood in Los Angeles, Canton in Ohio and Mount Prospect in Illinois appearing in the bottom 10. In stark contrast, the citizens of Jackson in Madison County, Tennessee, appear to be remarkably well-adjusted, scoring highly on conscientiousness, agreeableness and emotional stability.

The most extrovert city, meanwhile, was Whitewater in Wisconsin, known for its university and the "witches' triangle" of graveyards that have inspired some chilling ghost stories. Clearly, the threat of the supernatural hasn't stopped the locals from enjoying themselves.

Bleidorn emphasises that the differences are relatively humble - "the variation between cities is way smaller than the variation between individuals".

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