Sure, we know climate change is affecting a lot of different things, but this revelation is throwing things through the roof. Could climate change be affecting your personality?
A new study suggests that our personalities are shaped by the temperatures of the areas in which we are raised and since global warming changes those temperatures and weather patterns our personalities may change with them. This research explored how temperature affects people’s habits based on where they live. Temperature apparently even goes so far as to dictate whether or not we like to explore our surroundings and other things of the sort.
For this study researchers looked at personality questionnaires from people who live in moderate and extreme climates all over China. This included about 5,500 people from at least 59 different cities and then people in the US a rough 1.66 million throughout a span of 12,500 different zip codes. According to this study, people who grew up in mild temperatures regardless of their income, gender, or country seemed to be more agreeable than the rest.
This all aside, there are some people in the science world who believe these findings are outlandish. If you can get past the strangeness of the idea though, it does make sense. Authors of this study say that new research needs to be done on the subject in the future to understand just how much weight climate change has on our personalities. As climate change continues who knows, we may be a shadow of our former selves.
The beginning of this study goes as follows:
Human personality traits differ across geographical regions. However, it remains unclear what generates these geographical personality differences. Because humans constantly experience and react to ambient temperature, we propose that temperature is a crucial environmental factor that is associated with individuals’ habitual behavioral patterns and, therefore, with fundamental dimensions of personality. To test the relationship between ambient temperature and personality, we conducted two large-scale studies in two geographically large yet culturally distinct countries: China and the United States, Using data from 59 Chinese cities (N=5,587), multilevel analyses and machine learning analyses revealed that compared with individuals who grew up in regions with less clement temperatures, individuals who grew up in regions with more clement temperatures (that is, closer to 22 degrees C) scored higher on personality factors related to socialization and stability (agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability) and personal growth and plasticity (extraversion and openness to experience). These relationships between temperature clemency and personality factors were replicated in a larger dataset of 12,499 ZIP-code level locations (the lowest geographical level feasible) in the United States (N=1,660,638). Taken together, our findings provide a perspective on how and why personalities vary across geographical regions beyond past theories (subsistence style theory, selective migration theory, and pathogen prevalence theory). As climate change continues across the world, we may also observe concomitant changes in human personality.
What do you think about all of this? I for one think it is quite possible that climate change does affect our personalities on some level but agree that more research will have to be done. For more information on climate change please check out the video below.