Nation's 'personality' influences its environmental stewardship, shows new study

October 23, 2014, University of Toronto

Countries with higher levels of compassion and openness score better when it comes to environmental sustainability, says research from the University of Toronto.

A new study by Jacob Hirsh, an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behaviour & Human Resource Management at the University of Toronto Mississauga's Institute for Management & Innovation, who is cross-appointed to UofT's Rotman School of Management, demonstrates that a country's personality profile can predict its records.

While Prof. Hirsh's previous work has looked at how personality traits predict an individual's attitudes about the environment, this latest study takes the research to another level, examining how those traits play out across whole nations.

"We used to think that personality only mattered for individual outcomes," says Prof. Hirsh, "but we're finding that population differences in personality characteristics have many large-scale consequences".

The new study examined nation-level personality traits from a database of over 12,000 people in 51 . National personality differences, reflecting average trait profiles of a country's citizens, were used to predict scores on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI). The EPI, developed at Yale and Columbia Universities, ranks countries across 22 environmental indicators, including Co2 emission levels, use of renewable energy, and ecosystem management.

Higher scores on the EPI, reflecting more environmentally sustainable practices, were positively correlated with national levels of two personality traits: Agreeableness, which reflects empathy and , and Openness, which reflects cognitive flexibility and aesthetic appreciation. The same relationships were observed even when controlling for national differences in wealth, education, and population size.

These results highlight the psychological factors that can shape a nation's environmental policies, says Prof. Hirsh. "Not only can a person's attitudes about the environment be predicted from his or her personality traits, but the environmental practices of entire nations can be predicted from the personality profiles of their citizens".

The paper was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology.

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21 comments

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JoeBlue
1.8 / 5 (5) Oct 23, 2014
What is this garbage. How are compassion and openness qualifiers, and how does one measure what environmentally sustainability is without a metric of how to to qualify it?
tritace
Oct 24, 2014
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JoeBlue
1 / 5 (3) Oct 24, 2014
None of the those metrics are realistic in the least, which strangely you stated right in your post after I already asked the obvious. So you think you have an answer, but all you have is conjecture and the thinly veiled insinuation that you will force your solution on everyone.

"We" do not need to do anything. You should quit assuming that you are correct, and stop trying force people to accept it though.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Oct 24, 2014
What does psychology have to do with environment?
tritace
Oct 24, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
tritace
Oct 24, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
tritace
Oct 24, 2014
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JoeBlue
1 / 5 (1) Oct 24, 2014
OK, so you should do it neither. The libertarians should stop to pretend, they already know best what it's best for human civilization as a whole. The solely individualistic approach may be as infeasible here, as the solely collectivist one.


Why am I concerned with libertarians all of the sudden, and what does a political affiliation have to do with the article or my post?
tritace
Oct 24, 2014
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ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Oct 24, 2014
but it does reduce the human civilization to the pile of individuals without collective thinking

No, it does not.
Individuals can choose to collaborate.
Humans aren't ants, but socialists/'liberals' want them to be.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Oct 24, 2014
What does psychology have to do with environment?

Simple: People vote.Their attitude reflects whom they will vote for. And that in turn will shape policy (by getting people into office that reflect those values and/or by parties changing their profile to pander to the prevaling 'personality' of the populace)
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Oct 24, 2014
So what if people vote.
Cuba votes. DPRK votes.
When socialists destroy economies, people don't vote for 'environment'.
In the US, environment is not very high on their list of priorities.
Looks like the EUers, too, are more worried about poverty than the environment.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Oct 24, 2014
Anyone who takes an objective look at nations and environments, they must correlate the more free market economies conserve environments while centrally planned, socialist economies do not.
The state is not the personality of the nation.
tritace
Oct 24, 2014
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ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Oct 25, 2014
the government is just a form of such a public collaboration.

No, it's not.
The EU govt is not elected by people.
Much of the US govt does not collaborate, it dictates.
Govt is force, period.
Unless the society has created a govt that has limited authority, as the US Constitutions was intended, govts become dictators, not collaborators.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Oct 25, 2014
"The city of Houston subpoenaed sermons and personal correspondence on the topics of homosexuality and gender identity from a group of five pastors. This is not an issue of religion, but an issue of constitutional rights, Rev. Dave Welch, executive director of the Texas Pastor Council told TheDC.

"This kind of overreach by government, directly into constitutionally protected activities, both of petition and of speech and religion, is just unprecedented," Welch said."
http://dailycalle...-rights/
This isn't collaboration.

What if Rev Niemoller and millions of others has spoken up and fought the brown shirts?
gkam
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 25, 2014
The materials used for wind turbines does not go away or become radioactive. It can be used over and over again. The straw man for not building wind turbines is ridiculous.

Why do these folk insist on being correct when they have been wrong for decades? Politics!

They get their technical analysis from political prejudice, not understanding the dangers.
gkam
1 / 5 (1) Oct 25, 2014
"What if Rev Niemoller and millions of others has spoken up and fought the brown shirts?"

They did in America and stopped the Vietnam War. But they were opposed to the right-wingers, the neo-Fascists in the US.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Oct 25, 2014
"What if Rev Niemoller and millions of others has spoken up and fought the brown shirts?"

They did in America and stopped the Vietnam War. But they were opposed to the right-wingers, the neo-Fascists in the US.


Yes and enabled Pol Pot to murder millions.
Ted Kennedy showed his character by leaving a women to die at Chappaquiddick and leaving millions to die in SE Asia.
That's the personality of socialists.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Oct 25, 2014
"The number of Islamic extremists in Germany is growing rapidly, the head of the country's domestic intelligence agency said Saturday."
http://hosted.ap....06-20-18

What are Germans going to do this time to counter murderers in their midst?
The problem with Germany though is during both WWI and WWII, Germany was allies with radical Muslims in the Middle East.
What is the real personality of Germany now?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Oct 25, 2014
Why do the socialists blame 'conservatives for Vietnam?
Eisenhower, a Republican, ended the Korean War started by a socialist, Stalin, and perpetuated by Truman, a democrat.
Eisenhower cautioned JFK, democrat, from sending US forces to Vietnam. Johnson, a 'liberal' democrat increased the size and scope of the Vietnam War, but tied the hands of the military to execute the war.
Nixon, no conservative Republican, ended US involvement with promises from Congress to provide funding to South Vietnam. Kennedy (Teddy) and the 'liberals' cut and ran from that commitment leading to the tyranny of another socialist, Pol Pot.

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