According to new research the West Coast vs. East Coast culture clash is not just a preconceived notion. In fact individuals are who they are due to their local environment.
The study observed how interactions between an individual's setting and their own individual's characteristics affect their well-being.
Lead study author Victoria Plaut, a social and cultural psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley Law School, observed cultural differences in Boston and San Francisco. Though Boston and San Francisco are both waterfront cities, politically liberal and similar economies, researchers also observed distinct differences.
Researchers wanted to understand how widespread the "freedom versus tradition" divide was throughout each metro area. Plaut and colleagues surveyed Bostonians and San Franciscans. The survey included questions regarding their perceptions of social norms in their cities. The surveys revealed Bostonians have more rigid perceptions compared to San Franciscans.
"Bostonians are more likely than San Franciscans to believe that there are clear expectations for how people should behave in their city," Plaut told LiveScience. "Whereas San Franciscans are more likely than Bostonians to believe that in their areas people have the freedom to go their own way."
Researchers also analyzed the cultural products of each city. Cultural differences include newspaper headlines and websites of hospitals and venture capital firms. Their analysis revealed the Boston Globe discusses more community based stories whereas the San Francisco Chronicle reports on stories concerning innovation, creativity and prominent individuals.
Additionally, researchers surveyed 3,485 residents of Boston and San Francisco regarding their overall satisfaction of their daily lives, as well as their finances, family, education, community and work. Another 403 individuals who commute on public transportation in Boston and San Francisco were asked questions concerning daily events or occurrences that make them happy or sad.
Overall the study demonstrated a more community based nature in Boston while San Franciscans are more focused on individuality and creativity. Furthermore, Bostonians feel more of a social pressure compared to San Franciscans.
Plaut does state the results are based off a citywide scale. She also wants people to know it does not mean one city is happier than the other it. It just suggests cultural differences.
This study was published in the journal of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
Published by Medicaldaily.com