Geography, psychology and the 'Big Five' personality traits: who moves, and over what distances, in the United Kingdom?

Shuttleworth, I., Stevenson, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-2438-6425, Bjarnason, Þ. and Finell, E., 2020. Geography, psychology and the 'Big Five' personality traits: who moves, and over what distances, in the United Kingdom? Population Space and Place: e2418. ISSN 1544-8444

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Personality, as measured by the 'Big Five' dimensions of agreeableness, openness, extroversion, neuroticism and conscientiousness, has been explored in the social psychological literature as a predictor of migration but so far has received very little attention in the geographical literature, which is surprising given its predictive importance and also evidence that the selectivity of migration shapes area personality profiles. Using the Understanding Society 1 data set, this paper analyses how personality influences whether a respondent moves or not over a 5-year period and, if they do, how far they move. After controlling for individual sociodemographic characteristics, it is found (a) that those who score higher on conscientiousness and neuroticism are more likely to expect to move in the next year; (b) that only those who score highly on extroversion actually made at least one move during the 5-year period; (c) that openness is positively associated with making a long-distance move (≥50 km); and (d) that the pattern for (c) is reversed for short-distance moves (<10 km). These findings are significant for two reasons. First, they show that personality should be more central in migration studies and that geography can usefully seek disciplinary insights from social psychology. Second, they help us take a step towards a better understanding of the relationships between geography, personality and spatial mobility.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Population Space and Place
Creators: Shuttleworth, I., Stevenson, C., Bjarnason, Þ. and Finell, E.
Publisher: Wiley
Date: 16 December 2020
ISSN: 1544-8444
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 12 Jan 2021 11:50
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2022 03:00

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