The Warmer, The Kinder: Can Climate Shape Your Personality?


In regions where there are no drastic changes in temperatures, kids grow up to be more sociable and friendly. That’s what a group of Chinese and American psychologists from the Peking University have concluded in their recent study. Certainly, there are a lot of factors that shape our personality, but the climate we live in seems to be the starting point in forming who we are.

How does the climate affect the Big five personality traits?

To prove their theory right, or at least plausible, the researchers had to run some tests. First of all, the researchers wanted to know whether the climate affects the so-called Big Five personality test traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism. In order to do that and avoid any cultural differences that might impact on one’s personality development, the researchers surveyed university students from China and the United States only. Why these two countries? Simple. Both countries are located in different climatic zones, and the population there has quite a distinctive culture.

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In the course of study, the researchers questioned around 5,9 thousand students from 59 towns in China, and 1,6 millions of Americans living in 8,1 thousand cities across the US. They all were born in the same place their parents were born in, and lived there till they went to college. It’s worth noting that besides the average annual temperature in the area of living the psychologists also considered the personal characteristics of the respondents, such as age, gender, education level, economic status of the palaces they lived in. 

Can Climate Shape Your Personality  #2 | ZestRadar

The climate does affect your personality, or does it?

The study revealed that people who grew up in areas in milder and warmer temperatures turned out to be more friendly, emotionally stable, conscientious, communicative and very open-minded than those who grew up in colder climates. And there might be an explanation for that.

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We all know that people have warm blood, right? That is why it’s very important for us to maintain our body temperature at comfort levels. And it makes sense. Cold weather discourages us, makes us moody and lazy. Then again, when it is cold outside, all we want to do is stay home, watch Netflix and eat pizza.

Can Climate Shape Your Personality  #4 | ZestRadar

Warm temperatures, on the contrary, make us want to go outside and explore, and we all know that close interaction with nature makes us kind, caring, and loving. And while it might be true, it doesn’t explain Canadians, for example. They live in lower temperatures than most Americans and Chinese do, but yet they score better on the personality test.

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In fact, Canada is considered to be one of the happiest countries to live in. But I think the government contributes just as much to form a positive environment as the people who live there do. So I guess climate zone you grew up in might not be that important after all.