The Personality of American Nations: An Exploratory Study


  • Kevin Lanning Orcid
  • Evan A. Warfel Orcid
  • Geoffrey Wetherell Orcid
  • Marina Perez
  • Ryan Boyd Orcid
  • David M. Condon Orcid


Some scholars have presented models of the United States as a set of “nations” with distinct settlement histories and contemporary cultures. We examined personality differences in one such model, that of Colin Woodard, using data from over 75,000 respondents. Four nations were particularly distinct: The Deep South, Left Coast, New Netherland, and the Spanish Caribbean. Differences between nations at the level of the individual person were typically small, but were larger at the level of community, revealing how aggregation can contribute to differences in the lived experience of places in nations such as Yankeedom or Greater Appalachia. We represented effects in a three-dimensional model defined by Authoritarian conventionalism (which differentiated ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ nations) as well as Cognitive resilience and Competitiveness (which differentiated among the Blue nations). Finally, we adjusted Woodard’s model to better fit the data, and found that nations largely maintained their boundaries, with the most drastic changes occurring on the East Coast.