Virginia: More West Coast than East Coast in Temperament


Social scientists have divided the United States into three distinct regions based upon the preponderant personality type: friendly/conventional, relaxed/creative and temperamental/ uninhibited. The map above was compiled by Jason Rentfrow, an American by birth and senior lecturer at the University of Cambridge, and published by Time.

Virginia and North Carolina represent an isolated, East Coast bastion of the relaxed and creative personality type. The Tarheel state is close to Washington in temperament; Virginia is somewhat diluted version of both. As I read the map, the relaxed-and-creative personality type predominates but not strongly so. Still, our personality mix sets us apart from both the more temperamental Northeast and the more conventional South.

You can test your own personality profile — just click here. Here’s my profile:

Bacon personality profile.
Bacon personality profile.

Calm and relaxed — what else do you expect from a blogger who works at home in shorts and t-shirts? As for my conscientiousness, family members certainly would agree that I err toward the “disorganized” end of the personality spectrum.

I post my profile because it fits the relaxed-creative profile of the Old Dominion. I find that significant. An underlying premise of the personality mapping is that people migrate from place to place, and they tend to linger in places where they fit in. For all my kvetching about Virginia, I love the place. I fit in. I plan to stay here until I die.

An open invitation. I would love to see the personality profiles of other Bacon’s Rebellion contributors and commenters — even readers, for that matter. What’s your personality type? How closely do you align with the collective Virginia personality? And what influence might that have upon your perception of the Commonwealth? Email me your results. If I get enough responses, I will post them on the blog.

Here’s Don “Don the Ripper” Rippert’s profile:


And frequent commenter Richard Rogers:


Other readers report their personality profiles in the comments.


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35 responses to “Virginia: More West Coast than East Coast in Temperament”

  1. DJRippert Avatar

    “You don’t do the Dougie? No, not in Kentucky”

    Blake Sheldon from the song, “Boys Round Here”

    Apparently, they either don’t take surveys either or they have the same number of people on the various ends of the spectra to completely cancel each other out.

    I knew I liked that place.

  2. reed fawell III Avatar
    reed fawell III

    I mostly live two places – DC region generally, and Md. Eastern Shore. I fail to see how that chart above fits either me or the folks I come across in either place. Like you imply, it seems to me more a creation of someone’s imagination. A kind of generalized anecdotal set of impressions depending on the weather and various humors it might generate at any particular time.

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      The Eastern Shore of Maryland is a lot more like most of Virginia than it’s like most of Maryland. I’ve often thought of a trade – Maryland gets NoVa and Virginia gets Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

  3. I’m game although the one time I saw Bacon.. he was NOT in T-shirts and shorts!

  4. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    To respond to your query, you are absolutely right! North Carolinians have a delightfully cheerful, positive and inclusive manner that makes them first in the region as far as personality.

    If you move into their town, they’ll invite you to dinner in a week or so. They’ll always ask how you are. They won’t be snobbish. The only real problem comes up with the basketball teams — the Pack, the Blue Devils and the Heels, but that can be dealt with.

    I agree with you, Jim. North Carolina is a wonderful place and in many ways I wish I still lived there. No wonder is ranked the best and most creativity in the eastern U.S.!

    1. If I had to pick a different state to live in, it would be North Carolina.

  5. reed fawell III Avatar
    reed fawell III

    I’d pick Na, Rowelling Valley, Nepal!

  6. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    And since you are sooo into Virginia, why don’t you Google “the Old Dominion” by eddie from ohio. You can even buy it as your ring tone. Here are lyrics:

    you think you’ll find some mountains
    in western colorado
    fifty weeks of snowy peaks
    is where you’re gonna be
    but babe the rocky mountains are gradually eroding
    the hills of coors are nothing more
    than blue ridge wannabes

    a turkey on it’s belly
    a chicken on it’s back
    anyway you look at it
    you’ll find her on the map
    she revels in the seasons
    shakes hands with the north
    hugs the land of dixie while dancing on the porch

    you think that autumns in new england
    are the greatest of them all
    but give me sweet virginia for the fireworks of fall
    the prettiest october in all the fifty states
    just drive up to the skyline
    park the car and wait

    so grow up colorado
    excuse me tennessee
    if you don’t mind, north caroline
    here’s where i want to be

    when you’re talking home
    you mean the old dominion
    just southeast of heaven to the surf and the hills
    she’s the best of thirteen sisters
    and thirty seven more
    sweet sweet virginia always keeps an open door

    they’re fiddlin’ in galax
    pickin’ up in floyd
    and in the land of patsy cline
    they’re songs you can’t avoid
    when you’re walking back after midnight
    i’ll fall to pieces, too
    i’m crazy back in baby’s arms with sweet dreams of you

    they’re sailing down in norfolk
    skiing up in bryce
    climbing up the devil’s stairs against the ranger’s advice
    they’re harvesting in loudoun to shenandoah winds
    and in the land near washington they’re rooting for the ‘skins
    fight for old d.c.

    so grow up colorado
    excuse me tennesse
    if you don’t mind, north caroline
    here’s where i want to be


    pack up your impala
    and make your move out west
    past the blue ridge mountains
    you’ll find you passed the best
    and when your dreams have ended
    where mountains are concerned
    me and sweet virginia will await for your return

      1. DJRippert Avatar

        Yes, great Northern Virginia band.

  7. well I had not heard it but I much prefer it to the “official” Va song.

    but there is a faux pas unfortunately I think.

    at 1:34 into the video.. there is a frame of the blue ridge parkway but I’m pretty sure that particular place is called the Lin Cove Viaduct in NC.

    and this goes to my own score in the personality profile which I strongly disagree with but it said that I can be disagreeable !


  8. Les Schreiber Avatar
    Les Schreiber

    I am open to new ideas,relaxed ,extroverted,conscientious, and mildly disagreeable. I really don’t know what that means. Speaking of “Time”,I was disturbed to read an article by Tyler Cowen touting, God forbid, Texas as a model for the US economic policy. I guess a state where the Governor can’t count to three is the model the Tea Party would like to follow.

  9. I love the west… from Montana to Arizona…. I love the ‘big’ skies… a gazillion stars at night complete with orbiting satellites!

    One can see a storm 30-40 miles away…

    the rivers are fast and raucous and the river gorges like the Grand Canyon, the Rio Grande, Owhyee, and Yampa are magical.

    I love the wilderness… the kind where you really are out in the middle of nowhere!

    taking a car from Virginia to the West – really impresses on you just how big the country is and how very different most of America is from places like the suburbs of DC and NoVa.

    I love Va too but the west has always tugged at me from Spokane to Lajitas and Saint Louis to Port Angelos. Canada is a close second wilder and more remote than much of the west – and … no snakes but plenty of biting bugs to compensate!

    New York and north to Canada is interesting as well as Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Vancouver and Victoria are neat. Fort Simpson and getting to Fort Simpson via Van is a l-o-n-g way… the McKenzie River is HUGE – as is the Columbia River! Following the MIssouri from St. Louis to Astoria, Oregon .. following in Lewis & Clark’s footsteps gives one an appreciation of the magnitude of their venture but brings questions about why they did not go up the Yellowstone and down the Snake to get around the Rocky Mountains.

    And Lewis & Clark were not the first – they actually were using maps drawn by the French Explorers (like La Verendrye that preceded them….).

    Virginia is no slacker.. either… but it’s a big world out there!

    1. I totally agree. It’s a big beautiful country, and I hope to see most of it before I die. My fantasy is to live a few years in Jackson Hole. But I’ll always be pulled back to good ol’ Virginnie.

      1. reed fawell III Avatar
        reed fawell III

        Have you been to Church in Wilson? If not, the don’t miss it next time through. Mark your calendar. It’s held on the west side of Jackson Hole below the pass into Idaho in Wilson every Sunday night from 6 to 10 pm at the Stagecoach Bar – a wild scene in a holy place beyond the sacred.

        And of course the Tetons that cluster round the Grand matches anybody mountains. But for a far different sort of mountain sublime head south. Drive to where the Hole drops down Hell’s Canyon and spreads out across the Wind River Plain. Keep going though Pinedale then head east into the Wind Rivers to Big Sandy. Pack in from there. It’s a most of the day hike to the Cirque of the Towers.

        Here at the Cirque, the trout are free and the stone is naked. The spires rise up into weather racing east across the plain and into the Wind Rivers Range, through the naked plinths of stone with increasing power and sometimes with the violence of jagged lights in late afternoon, an ever changing scene painted into alpine lakes nestled below the spires. Thus two grand shows go on all day, one up high the other down low.

        So the Wind Rivers matches anybody’s mountains too, but differently.

        PS for climbers – the rock is supreme but get down off it early. Many a tarty soul has been fried late afternoon up on those remarkable spires.

        1. I’ve been to Wilson… but not to church in Wilson. I can hardly wait to get back to Wyoming.

  10. North Carolina is a great place, wonderful to live in, and not so crazy as Virginia (where my family is from and where I have a second home). But the particular placde where I live in Virginia is definitely friendlier, in large part I think becuase it consists of people from elsewhere who are committed to the community and to making connections and friends. A large number of outsiders who are committed to the community makes a community more open and friendlier. North Carolina includes all types – from a Jesse Helms who was friendly on the surface (a Raleighite, I never saw him without a smile) who was basically suspiciious of “other” people; to a Terry Sanford, who was also the friendliest possible gentlemen, and a progressive who fought for broad-based education and civil rights. North Carolina has recently swung to the Jesse Helms side (the dark side in my opinion), but will move back to the Terry Sanford side (I predict) now that we’ve gotten a taste of the Tea Party.

  11. DJRippert Avatar

    It is heartwarming to see Jim Bacon salivating at the bluegrass music of a NoVa band (all members of Eddie from Ohio are actually from Northern Virginia – kind of fooled you there, huh Bacon?!?).

    However, I’ll have to head to Staunton for my choice for the Virginia state song … The Statler Brothers, Let Me Spend One more Summer in Virginia

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      P.S. I love Virginia even if I do want to blow up the state government (metaphorically speaking, of course). I’ve been everywhere else in the country and most parts of the world. The only reason I’d leave Virginia is because the fishing is so incredibly good in florida or Hawaii I might not be able to resist.

  12. DJRippert Avatar

    There’s things I’ve never done and more I’ll never do
    Things I’ll never see or care to
    There’s places I’ve never been and people I’ll never see
    But before I have to leave, Lord please let me …

    Spend one more summer in Virginia
    One more August in her arms
    Let me sit and rock on her front porch and watch the nights go by
    Let me spend just one more summer in Virginia before I die

    I’ve had some time for thinking
    God I’m sorry for all I’ve done
    Caused I’ve done so very much to everyone
    I’ve never been much for praying but here I am go my knees
    If you see your way clear Lord, let me please

    Spend one more summer in Virginia
    One more August in her arms
    Let me sit and rock on her front porch and watch the nights go by
    Let me spend just one more summer in Virginia before I die

    I’ve got friends to thank, a wife to hold, kids to kiss goodbye
    Let me spend just one more summer in Virginia before I die

  13. tempo. tempo! I LIKE the Statler Boys but not the songs to grow grass by….

    sorry… here’s two that are TOPS!

  14. Rocky Mountain High


    Country ROads – take me home

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      Even Peter on a bender doesn’t think he can see the Rocky Mountains from Chesterfield County. The first line in Country Roads, Take Me Home is “Almost heaven, West Virginia”. Interestingly, that song was written in Washington, DC by John Denver and a backup band after performing at the Cellar Door in Washington. It was written in 1970.

      Lots of state songs are slow. Maryland, My Maryland? My Old Kentucky Home? The Old North State (North Carolina)?

      How else could 100,000 people sing My Old Kentucky Home each May after downing 6 mint juleps apiece?

      Pretty much Rocky Top (Tennessee) is the only one I know of that “pops”. Of course, Tennessee has eight official state songs. Virginia, on the other hand, has none. Rocky Top was written in 1967.

      Maybe remix One More Summer in Virginia?

      Even Sweet Virginia by the Stones drags.

      OK – GOT IT …

      1. Annie’s Song
        Leaving On A Jet…
        sunshine on my shoulders

        not sure who the gal is… not sure it’s a winner … but I like the idea of a song that people can sing…!!! and she ain’t bad to look at!

        1. Not a classic, but nice to listen to.

  15. Wow, talk about a blog article that ended up all over the map.

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      Let’s be honest – it started all over the map!

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      Yet another example of political correctness run amok. The original lyrics made no mention of race, slavery, or any offensive points. Then, James Bland (a black man born free in NYC in 1854 who moved to DC graduating from Howard) rewrote the lyrics. Bland was a minstrel who traveled the country singing ballads. While nobody is quite sure why Bland wrote the lyrics that he wrote some believe it was a sad satirical view of the homelessness that had befallen many freed slaves after the Civil War.

      In 1940 the Imperial Clown Show in Richmond adopted Carry Me Back to Ole Virginny as the state song. As far as I know, they used the Bland lyrics only replacing Virginny with Virginia. Why they didn’t use the original lyrics or modified lyrics is a mystery that only the clowns in Richmond can explain.

      Ray Charles and Louis Armstrong both performed the song with non-racist lyrics.

  16. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Here’s my version or at least, lyrics:

    Carry me back to Ole Virginniy

    Back where the RFPs and money flies

    Massa, he’s home across de Big River

    Stroking checks to help our lives

    He gets us those SUVs, Steakes au Poivre and fries

    But on that dark,day

    When Mr. Sequestration comes on by

    And cotton and contracts no longer grows high

    I’ll settle in, check my GS-rating, pension and 401 (k)

    And right thereabouts, I lays down and dies

    1. Hah! Hah! Best laugh of the day.

  17. accurate Avatar

    Well, can’t find an address to email you but here is what the profile said (next up on Bacon’s Rebellion – the Cosmo Quiz).

    You prefer traditional and familiar experiences.
    You are very well-organized, and can be relied upon.
    You are extremely outgoing, social, and energetic.
    You tend to consider the feelings of others.
    You probably remain calm, even in tense situations.

  18. vasinger Avatar

    Virginia- always has unique and fun people. You know, I don’t buy that the South is conventional. Maybe in some ways, but I meet more eccentric and creative people from the South. The South always has had a lot of creative people. And of course Virginia is no exceptio

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