Study: D.C. Residents ‘Least Agreeable’ in U.S.

By Barbara Boland | October 28, 2013 | 4:26pm EDT

(AP Photo)

( -- A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology on Oct. 14 found that residents of the District of Columbia were the “least agreeable” in the United States, scoring a low 21.4 on the Agreeableness scale, followed by New York and New Hampshire.

When it came to being neurotic, West Virgina ranked first, according to the study, followed by Maine and Massachusetts.

The study, headed by Peter J. Rentfrow from the Department of Psychology of Cambridge, in England, analyzed the personality traits of over 1.5 million people from the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia through questions on a Facebook application and four online surveys over 12 years.

The study used a test known as OCEAN, which measures factors called the “Big Five:” Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism.

Someone who scores high in “Agreeableness” would agree (on a 1-5 scale) with the following statements: I am interested in people. I sympathize with others’ feelings. I have a soft heart. I take time out for others. I feel others’ emotions. I make people feel at ease. I inquire about others’ well-being. I know how to comfort others. I love children. I am on good terms with nearly everyone. I have a good word for everyone. I show gratitude. I think of others first, I love helping others.

Conversely, someone who is “disagreeable,” according to the study, admits that they insult people, are not interested in other people’s problems, feel little concern for others, are not really interested in others, are hard to get to know, and are indifferent to the feelings of others.

The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Using a formula, the study calculated the scores per state with a national average score of 50.  So, for example, D.C. scored a 21.4 relative to the national average of 50 for Agreeableness; D.C. was thus less agreeable than the average. And West Virginia scored a 79.2 relative to the national average of 50 for Neuroticism. West Virginia was thus more neurotic than the average.

The 10 jurisdictions scoring lowest in Agreeableness were:

1. District of Columbia     21.4

2. New York                     29.8

3. New Hampshire            31.8

4. Maine                            32.8

5. Rhode Island                35.2

6. Maryland                       37.3

7. Connecticut                   38.6

8. Delaware                       38.8

9. Wyoming                      40.7

10. New Jersey                  44.6

When it came to Neuroticism, the study asked people whether they agree with the following: I often feel blue. I dislike myself. I am often down in the dumps. I have frequent mood swings. I panic easily. I am filled with doubts about things. I feel threatened easily. I get stressed out easily. I fear the worst. I worry about things.

The 10 states scoring highest in Neuroticism were:

1. West Virginia              79.2

2. Maine                           71

3. Massachusetts             63.8

4. New York                    62.7

5. Kentucky                      62.5

6. Delaware                     62.4

7. Rhode Island                61.9

8. New Jersey                  61.8

9. Pennsylvania                61.4

10.  Indiana                       59.3

The researchers found that the data from the five personality characteristics, when combined with geographical data, could be aggregated into three distinct psychological profiles: “friendly and conventional,” which corresponded mostly to the Midwest region of the country; “relaxed and creative,” areas mostly in the West; and “temperamental and uninhibited,” areas found most in the Northeast.

(AP Photo)

The “friendly and conventional” region corresponded mostly to “Middle America or ‘Red’ states,” the study found.

That region is characterized by “conservative social values and moderately high levels of Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness, moderately low Neuroticism and very low Openness. This configuration of traits portrays the sort of person who is sociable, considerate, dutiful and traditional,” says the study.

Wisconsin took the prize as top scorer in Extroversion,  while the lowest score for such went toVermont. Utah was the least Neurotic state.

Washington, D.C. also scored highest in Openness – combined with their lowest score in Agreeableness, it means that D.C. has “no idea what to do with all the ideas they tolerate.”

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