2008.05.14 Feeling neurotic? It's OK

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

The long-term forecast for this region calls for conscientious behavior with a touch of neuroticism.

What? Has the idiot finished with Lyons and now he’s going after all of us? That seems to be the case. I’m obviously a man with too much information and an inability to keep quiet.

My new information was collected by a couple of researchers who spun regional personality data into a set of five maps of the USA.

Why just five maps? Because classic psychology studies focus on five broad personality traits: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism.

It turns out there are clusters of like-minded individuals and their presence can be shown on a map.

So how are those people over in Lyons...just joking. We’re all in this together. Our shared traits tend to cover a wide swath of territory. Let’s take a close look at what’s become known as our psychogeography.

What about Agreeableness? No, that’s not us. There’s a wide river of agreeable people flowing out of Minnesota and following the Mississippi River down to the Gulf. Interesting, don’t you think? Must be some connection. In the south it spreads out wide and nearly the entire state of Georgia is the hotbed of agreeable people.

These people tend to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic. Social harmony, an optimistic view of human nature.

We’re not characterized by an Openness to Experience, either, but that map is rather empty. Those people are clustered in southern Florida, Austin, Los Angeles and California’s Bay Area, Seattle and New York City.

The Openness people appreciate art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, curiosity and a variety of experience. Hmmm, is this why I sometimes feel out of place in Morenci?

Everyone has his or her unique mixture of traits. An Open person could also possess a blend of Agreeableness: the unconventional views could be tempered by conforming actions. That’s safe for a small town.

So what are we like around here? Extroverted? Energy, positive emotions, seeking stimulation—a lot of interaction with the external world.

There’s something peculiar with this map. Every personality type has to fade off somewhere and the clusters of Extroverts tapers off right around here.

A glance at the map shows density around Chicago and spreading up toward Madison. Less intense is an enormous area starting up in Minnesota and heading down through Missouri to the Gulf. Central Florida is crawling with Extroverts.

The map shows the spread moving back north right up into Michigan except for this hole which is most of Ohio. A close-up view shows the band of Extroverts skirting around Fulton and Lenawee counties.

That’s because we don’t really like drawing attention to ourselves. We’re quiet around strangers and we really don’t have a lot to say.

There are only two of the Big Five remaining. Surely we must have some common properties.

We do. We’re Conscientious and it’s a Michigan thing. A good share of the state has this personality type, but the map shows this characteristic mostly in the southeast U.S., with a finger off toward eastern Nebraska plus widespread coverage in New Mexico and Arizona.

What does this say about us? We show self-discipline and aim for achievement. We plan rather than act spontaneously. We get our chores done. We’re boring?

This leaves number five: Neuroticism. We’re far from the hotbed of the East Coast, but the second-strongest collection of neurotics is clustered in southern Ohio, from Columbus down to Cincinnati, spilling over into northern Kentucky and moving northeast into western Pennsylvania. The bottom tier of Michigan counties also favors the unstable types.

We neurotics have a tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily—anger, depression, anxiety. We see ordinary situations as threatening and minor frustrations as hopelessly difficult.

By now, I expect that you have taken pieces of the Big Five and created your own mental puzzle to explain yourself.

And for those of you readers who were born here but no longer live in the area, now you know why you left. You just had to go off and join your own people.

  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016