What does your vacation say about your personality? Business Insider reported on a series of studies that demonstrated an association between people's personalities and their preferred places to relax and to live. The journalist sums up the studies: "the landscapes around us match the landscapes within us."
The creative set of studies by researchers Shigehiro Oishi, Thomas Talhelm and Minha Leefound used a variety of methods and measures to document links between introversion-extroversion and the physical environment. The theory they tested can be summarized this way:
Studies have shown that extroverts seek out opportunities for socializing and attention, whereas introverts look for quiet, more solitary situations. ...[but] there’s been little exploration into the role our personalities play in determining the geographical settings we love most. ”We argue that beaches are typically noisier, with more people to watch, talk to, and hang out with than mountains,” they write. “In contrast, mountains offer many secluded places, which facilitate isolation.” Extroverts should be happiest in an open area, then, Oishi hypothesized, whereas introverts should thrive in secluded spots.
Below are short descriptions of three of the studies, as explained by the journalist. For each study,
i) indicate the variables in the study
ii) indicate whether each variable is manipulated or measured
iii) identify the study as correlational or experimental.
Some studies have follow-up questions, too.
a) Study 1:
Oishi and his team asked 921 undergraduates to rate their personality, using a standard questionnaire. The students were then asked whether they prefer the ocean or mountains. Comparing the results, the researchers found that introversion was linked to a preference for mountains, while extroversion was linked to the beach. Mountain-lovers and ocean-lovers had no other significant personality differences, nor did age, gender, or socioeconomic status factor into their preference.
b) Study 2:
These findings were confirmed by a visual test. Oishi and his colleagues showed a smaller group of participants six pairs of pictures of oceans and beaches (one such pair is shown above), asking where they’d prefer to visit, cost and time investment being equal. These participants also took the standard personality questionnaire. Controlling for age, race, gender, and socioeconomic status, extroversion was found to be a significant predictor of ocean preference.
c) Study 3:
First, to see whether extroverts and introverts cluster geographically, Oishi and his team sought to find out whether residents of more mountainous states become introverted as a result of their surroundings. The researchers compared answers from a nationwide, multi-year personality survey of hundreds of thousands of respondents, with the relative mountainous-ness of each U.S. state.
Controlling for size of the population, they found a strong correlation between elevation and introversion on a state level: the more mountainous a state, the more introverted its population tended to be.
iv) in addition to answering the first three questions, sketch a scatterplot of the main bivariate result. What would a dot represent on your scatterplot?
e) The researchers did a large number of studies and found the same patterns in all of them. Were these studies exact replications, conceptual replications, or replications-and-extensions? Why was it important to run so many studies?
f) One of the studies they did was described this way:
The researchers asked another sample of students where they’d go for fun, social opportunities versus quiet solitude, between the beach and the mountains. Most respondents said they’d go to the beach if they wanted play-time with friends. Most also said that the mountains were best for alone time, affirming the researchers’ assumptions about how people perceive these geographical spaces.