Introverts like mountains better than flat land, science says

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If you’re an introvert and you live in a flat area like I do (I live in the Midwest region of the U. S.), maybe you should take your next vacation in the mountains.

According to research published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, introverts prefer mountainous regions over flat land.

In a series of three studies, researchers looked for a link between personality and a preference for certain geographical features. Using the Big Five personality test, researchers found that only one personality trait was related to terrain preference — extroversion.

Why do introverts like mountains better? More research still needs to be done, but the reason, perhaps, has to do with wooded/mountainous areas making us feel calm and secluded.

Participants in the studies perceived flat or open areas to be more sociable, exciting, and stimulating, while mountainous areas were perceived to be calmer, quieter, and more peaceful.

In addition, the research revealed that introverts tend to live in mountainous regions, while extroverts tend to live in open, flat areas.

The researchers say, though, that there’s no evidence that living in the mountains makes a person introverted. It’s more likely that introverts choose to live near mountains for the feeling of calm seclusion they offer.

So what does this mean for us introverts? Keep your temperament in mind when deciding where to live, says lead researcher Shige Oishi, according to RedOrbit.com.

“Some cities and towns have geography that is more accommodating for some people than for others…if you know you’re introverted, then you may be rejuvenated by being in a secluded place, while an extrovert may be rejuvenated more in an open space,” says Oishi.

This is the first study linking introversion and extroversion to a preference for mountains vs. flat land.

Image credit: Flickr


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14 Comments

  • Tammy says:

    I was born in Florida, but once my family moved to Colorado (I was 5) I felt like I was taken to where I belonged. Currently I live in Michigan & am so miserable its unbearable! I miss my mountains with every fiber of my being. The day of my return to the Rocky Mountains will be the happiest of my life. Being an introvert is only something I’ve realized about myself over the last few decades…my favorite book that really helped me was Party of One: A Loner’s Manifesto by Anneli Rufus is just so amazing too.

  • MJ says:

    I don’t know about this…I’m an extrovert (or at least I’m 90% sure I am) and I like mountains and countryside better, too.

  • Angie S says:

    I’m extremely introverted and I was miserable for the six years we lived in Wyoming. I recently read an article about brain chemistry and altitude, the general idea being that for some people living in the mountains is a happy place and for other people it causes depression. I’m not sure if that was part of my problem, but the lack of trees and clouds left me feeling exposed to the world.

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  • INTPondering says:

    This is really interesting! I’m a serious introvert and wonder if this explains why I’ve been attracted to mountains since I was very young and always wanted to live in a more mountainous place, even though the place I grew up was hilly enough. Flat land makes me very uncomfortable. It seems boring, monotonous, and too exposed. I don’t know if mountains necessarily seem “calmer” or “quieter” to me, but I like their rugged beauty, their wildness and, yes, their seclusion. Incidentally, my environment seems to have a big impact on my happiness and overall sense of well-being, much more so than people do. I could move to a region I think is beautiful and be totally happy there even without any friends or family. But move me to a place I think is ugly, and even surrounded by everyone I love, I’d be pretty miserable.

  • KW says:

    I’m an introvert. I live in Michigan and it’s flat in my area. I’ve always had a fascination with mountains. I would draw them as a child. A few years ago I went out west for the first time. Tears welled in my eyes as I saw mountains for the first time. I’ll never forget that. That said I’m relatively happy here save for the long winters.

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  • Rhiannon says:

    Interesting. I’ve known about being an introvert since I was a teenager, and this actually makes sense to me. Though where I’m originally from doesn’t have mountains, but it does have lots of limestone formations. We moved to a very flat land when I was fifteen, and since then I’ve had more problems with depression. In the past sixteen years the only time I can say I’ve felt truly at home when whenever we would go out to Colorado. There was just something about the mountains that felt like home.

  • Julie says:

    I LOVE flat land. Always have. It brings me much peace to be able to look out on land that I can see for miles. And I am definitely an introvert.

  • julietwilson says:

    except when we have vertigo!

  • Babs says:

    I met a wild adventurer when I left home at 24…on his way to the Yukon. The very sound of “Yukon” thrilled me. I never knew where it was. Traveling across the broad base of southern Canada, through vast prairie lands, was mind blowing. The wind almost knocked us other…Brandon, MB with its vastness and tall grain elevators…but it was when the mountains of Canada entered our view that I was totally enthralled.
    Even when they seemed close, they were far, far away…
    We arrived in Whitehorse, Yukon and I was truly filled with awe…and the thing about Yukon/Alaska is that it just keeps coming…
    Every bend in the road can reveal more majestic scenery than you had already witnessed.
    SO>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>I would say wide open prairies appeal to me, but the mountains totally captivated me.

    A bit of both, don’t you think?

  • Jess says:

    I keep thinking about this article! I live in NZ and we have some fantastic scenery here but the mountains at Mt Cook (particuarly Mt Sefton) always call to me. I try and travel there every year and have photos all around my house, I just can’t resist them! Wish I could post photos here to show my fellow introverts! Though I prefer looking at mountains, not trying to climb them!

  • Yvette says:

    I think this would really depend. I’m very introverted I was born and raised in Colorado and the mountains are hop skip and a jump away but I’ve always chosen to live in the plains. Definitely here in Colorado there’s a lot less population in the plains and I don’t know about the mountain people being any less extroverted considering all the ski slopes and everything it’s very populous and very social.
    I’m also a very big fan of being able to see for miles to see who’s coming near my private space so one introvert here who really doesn’t like the mountains and really like the plains. Plus being away from the sun in the mountains and having all the shade is very bad for me mood.

  • Tine says:

    I am introvert and I don’t like mountains – I really don’t – they make me feel depressed.

    Mountains always block the view – if you are not on the top, which hardly ever happens. Most of the time they are towering over you. They make it hard to get from A to B. Being in the mountains can make me feel a bit claustrophobic.

    I am very happy when I am by the sea and I can see the horizon.

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