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Is China Emotionally Just Average?

Posted in Recommended Reading

Clicked on a Washington Post article entitled, “A color-coded map of the world’s most and least emotional countries,” because it was showing as the most read WaPo article today.  The article contains the following map of “emotions”:

Emotions Map

The World’s Emotions Mapped — China Too

The map reflects the results of Gallup surveys taken since 2009:

Since 2009, the Gallup polling firm has surveyed people in 150 countries and territories on, among other things, their daily emotional experience. Their survey asks five questions, meant to gauge whether the respondent felt significant positive or negative emotions the day prior to the survey. The more times that people answer “yes” to questions such as “Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday?”, the more emotional they’re deemed to be.

Gallup has tallied up the average “yes” responses from respondents in almost every country on Earth. The results, which I’ve mapped out above, are as fascinating as they are indecipherable. The color-coded key in the map indicates the average percentage of people who answered “yes.” Dark purple countries are the most emotional, yellow the least.

China scores right in the middle, which probably seems about right to me, assuming the survey accurately measures emotions and assuming that the emotions it measures are the same ones I am thinking about.  People in China do sometimes smile — certainly more than in Russia but less than in the United States.  People in China sometimes scream and yell and fight — certainly more than in Singapore, but less than in Korea.  But of course people smile and scream and yell and fight everywhere, so I don’t know….

Is this map accurate?  Do these surveys accurately portray China?

What do you think?

  • http://twitter.com/MattSchiavenza Matt Schiavenza

    I question any study that says that Italians are less emotional than the British :)

  • Aye Caramba

    Seattle seemed pretty emotional.

  • http://jacobyount.com/ Jacob Yount

    I think there is a high level of emotionalism in China; it’s just right under the surface and it takes one confrontation for it to pop off. That’s why, frequently, during my decade there, I’d see huge crowds gather and argue over meaningless issues for extended periods of time (parking, space, whose fault was whose, etc..). That’s why factories won’t admit mistakes or they hide from issue. That fear of blame, that “face” it’s all wrapped up in emotionalism.

    Yes they don’t walk down the street laughing and smiling so much, but all it takes is one false move for the sparks to start flying.

    I always said that “laowai” have many ups and downs, mini-freak outs throughout the day. Chinese bottle all inside until there is one large explosion.

    ..my take anyway.

    • r_s_g

      I agree completely, although it’s worth noting that those are all negative emotions that you described. I find many Chinese are short on happiness.

  • Bobby315

    I don’t think that this survey is totally true or make any
    sense. Country is made by mixing individuals and everyone is unique. So we
    can’t judge them especially the emotional part of them. And talking about the
    whole ‘country’ is not right at all.

  • ThorMay

    All surveys like this reflect are cultural styles of answering questions
    from strangers. When somebody manages to measure the blood pressure
    bumps over 24 hours of half a million ordinary people having an ordinary
    day, then there might be something to discuss.

  • Simon

    These data are indeed no so far from realtity : Chinese, due to social and cultural reasons, do not really express emotions ( concept of losing face) , but when it comes to argue and speaking loudly, they are the best in the world ;) I think that the criteria ” smiling or not” is only one of the criteria to express emotion; some like sadness or joy should be taken into account.

  • Chris

    Subjective. Lived in Korea a few years. Map is wrong and silly.