The places where people live vary considerably in terms of their social, economic, political, climatic, and physical characteristics. These conditions affect how people from different regions behave and interact with their environments and each other.

Geographical psychology makes the case that understanding of psychological phenomena can be greatly informed by a cross-disciplinary perspective that investigates the spatial organization and geographical representation of such phenomena and the mechanisms that are responsible.

The research described in this volume indicates that personality, political ideology, well-being, happiness, human virtues, and personal concerns are related to several important geographic social indicators.

Additionally, the contributors show how aspects of the social and physical environment influence and interact with such indices as health and morbidity, well-being, crime rates, identity, creativity, and community orientation. Collectively, the chapters in this volume provide a foundation for developing theory and research in this intriguing new field of study.

Table of Contents


Peter J. Rentfrow

I. Mechanisms Underlying Geographical Variation in States, Traits, and Behaviors

  1. Where on Earth Do Collectivists Live? Climato–Economic Impacts on Ingroup Love and Outgroup Hate
    Evert Van de Vliert and Huadong Yang
  2. Regional Differences in Individualism and Why They Matter
    Lucian Gideon Conway III, Shannon C. Houck, and Laura Janelle Gornick
  3. Pathogen Prevalence and Geographical Variation in Traits and Behavior
    Damian R. Murray and Mark Schaller
  4. Personality and the Realization of Migration Desires
    Markus Jokela
  5. Personality Traits and Spatial Ecology in Nonhuman Animals
    Julien Cote, Jean Clobert, Tomas Brodin, Sean Fogarty, and Andrew Sih

II. Geographical Representation of Social Psychological Phenomena

  1. Geographical Differences in Personality
    Peter J. Rentfrow
  2. Big Five Personality Differences and Political, Social, and Economic Conservatism: An American State-Level Analysis
    Stewart J. H. McCann
  3. Investigating the Subjective Well-Being of United States Regions
    Richard E. Lucas, Felix Cheung, and Nicole M. Lawless
  4. The City Where We Live Matters: The Psychology of Cities
    Nansook Park and Christopher Peterson
  5. Finding Values in Words: Using Natural Language to Detect Regional Variations in Personal Concerns
    Cindy K. Chung, Peter J. Rentfrow, and James W. Pennebaker

III. Person X Environment Interactions

  1. Residential Mobility Affects Self-Concept, Group Support, and Happiness of Individuals and Communities
    Thomas Talhelm and Shigehiro Oishi
  2. People, Culture, and Place: How Place Predicts Helping Toward Strangers
    Stephen Reysen and Robert V. Levine
  3. The Psychogeography of Creativity
    Richard Florida and Charlotta Mellander
  4. Places, Products, and People "Make Each Other Up": Culture Cycles of Self and Well-Being
    Alyssa S. Fu, Victoria C. Plaut, Jodi R. Treadway, and Hazel Rose Markus
  5. The Tyneside Neighborhoods Project: Investigating the Psychological Geography of One British City
    Daniel Nettle and Agathe Colléony


About the Editor

Editor Bio

Peter J. Rentfrow, PhD, bounced around the United States, from Louisiana to Texas to New York to Massachusetts, and somehow landed in England, where he is currently a university senior lecturer (associate professor) in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Fitzwilliam College.

His research concerns Person X Environment interactions and focuses on the ways in which personality is expressed in everything from people's preferences for music to the places in which they live.

Dr. Rentfrow's research on these topics has appeared in several of the most prestigious journals in psychology — including American Psychologist, the Journal of Personality, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Perspectives on Psychological Science, and Psychological Science. He is committed to educating the public about psychological research and does so by giving lectures and designing online interactive psychology surveys, most recently the BBC's Big Personality Test.