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Profs: Dallas Has More Heart Than Head

That, in short, is a summary of a study conducted by University of Michigan psychologists Nansook Park and Christopher Peterson, which appeared in the September issue of American Psychologist and is making the rounds this week via this Infrastructurist item. Long story short: Peterson and Park asked, via the Internet, 47,396 folks living in the nation's 50 biggest cities what they, like, believe, man. The point: to measure "24 character strengths." Write the twosome in the piece:

This discussion suggests two psychological features of cities that are important: whether the city is known for talent and accomplishment and whether the city is kind and gentle. ... We have studied what we call strengths of the head (intellectual and self-focused strengths such as curiosity and creativity), which should characterize residents of cities known for their talent and accomplishment. ... We have also studied what we call strengths of the heart (emotional and other-focused strengths such as gratitude and love), which should characterize cities known for their kindness and gentleness.
It's all very Richard Florida. But long story short, cities in which respondents answered yup-yup to a statement like "I am always asking questions" were high on the "head" list. Cities in which folks said they "really enjoy doing small favors for friends" scored big on heart.

Which brings us to the results: Arlington, as you can see from the chart at right, is at the very bottom of the "strengths of the head" list -- which explains a lot about Sunday's Cowboys and Rangers games. (Hiyo!) Fort Worth's but a few spots down, followed by Dallas three spots later. But we're doing better on heart -- not as good as El Paso, apparently, or Fort Worth or Arlington. Still. We care.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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