A Tale of Peaks and Valleys: Sinusoid Relationship Patterns Between Mountainousness and Basic Human Values

Stefan Stieger*, Friedrich M. Götz, Chris Wilson, Selina Volsa, Peter J. Rentfrow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Mountains—mythic and majestic—have fueled widespread speculation about their effects on character. Emerging empirical evidence has begun to show that physical topography is indeed associated with personality traits, especially heightened openness. Here, we extend this work to the domain of personal values, linking novel large-scale individual values data (n = 32,666) to objective indicators of altitude and mountainousness derived from satellite radar data. Partial correlations and conditional random forest machine-learning algorithms demonstrate that altitude and mountainousness are related to increased conservation values and decreased hedonism. Effect sizes are generally small (|r| <.031) but comparable to other socio-ecological predictors, such as population density and latitude. The findings align with the dual-pressure model of ecological stress, suggesting that it might be most adaptive in the mountains to have an open personality to effectively deal with threats and endorse conservative values that promote a social order that minimizes threats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-402
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Keywords

  • conditional random forests
  • geographical psychology
  • mountainousness
  • personal values
  • socioecology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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