scotland and Wales
Scots are the friendliest people in Britain, while Welsh are least emotionally stable, study findsGetty Images

Scottish people are among the friendliest and most co-operative in Britain, while the Welsh are the least emotionally stable, a study has found.

A survey of around 400,000 people in Britain showed significant differences in personalities across different regions, with University of Cambridge scientists gathering data from the Big Personality Test – an online survey published by the BBC in 2009.

Their findings, published in the journal PLOS One, looked at five personality traits – extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability and openness. It analysed people from England, Wales and Scotland – Northern Ireland was excluded because the sample of respondents was too small.

Findings showed that extroverts – who tend to be more energetic, enthusiastic and assertive – were concentrated in London, Manchester and small parts of Scotland, Yorkshire and the south and south east of England. The least extroverted (or most reserved and introverted) people were found in the East Midlands, Wales, Humberside, the north of England and east Scotland.

Agreeable people, who are friendly, trusting and cooperative, were found in Scotland. Londoners and people in the east of England were rated lowest on this, suggesting they were quarrelsome, irritable and uncooperative.

People who had high levels of conscientiousness were found in southern England, parts of the Midlands and the Scottish Highlands, while London, Wales and parts of north England were found to be disorderly, rebellious and indifferent.

The Welsh were also found to be emotionally unstable, with significantly low levels seen throughout the country and a number of districts in the Midlands. In comparison, emotionally stable people were found in the south west and southern England and Scotland.

Openness was linked with creativity, curiosity and imagination, with 'open' people living unconventional lifestyles and supporting liberal attitudes. These people were found in metropolitan areas such as London, Oxford, Bristol, Manchester and Glasgow.

Low levels of openness were found in the East Midlands and east England – suggesting people there tend to be conventional, traditional and down-to-earth.

Commenting on the study, Jason Rentfrow said: "Understanding how personality traits differ by region is more than just a bit of fun. Geographical differences are associated with a range of economic, social and health outcomes – and hence how important resources are allocated.

"Although participants in an online test are self-selecting, the demographic characteristics are representative of the British population, so we can develop an accurate snapshot of the psychology of the nation."