It's not just a Hollywood stereotype that shows the sensitive side of Latin American men — but according to new research, the citizens who demonstrate the most emotions tend to come from island nations.
In a recent poll from Gallup looking at the most and least emotional countries in the world, the Philippines came out on top of the 150 countries surveyed as having citizens who felt the most emotions daily, with 60 per cent saying they experienced both positive and negative emotions each day. On the other end of the scale, Singaporeans were the least emotion, with only 36 per cent stating that they felt any emotions over the course of 24 hours.
Interestingly, the study didn't discern between the positive and negative emotions experienced, which included feeling well-rested, being treated with respect, enjoyment, smiling and laughing a lot, and learning or doing something interesting for the former, and anger, stress, sadness, physical pain, and worry for the latter.
In previous studies, it's been questioned whether "happiness" should be viewed as a universally good thing. Comparing North American vs. Asian cultures, for example, a Time magazine piece noted that while Americans felt a sense of personal accomplishment when they experienced happiness, the Japanese instead related that to all of their society's achievements. That collectivist mentality is something that appears to apply in the Philippines as well.
But does a more emotional society mean a happier — or sadder — one? According to the Happy Planet Index published in June, the Philippines ranks number 25 of the 151 countries, thanks primarily to its excellent score on the ecological footprint of the country, and a middle-of-the-road ranking for life expectancy and experiencing well-being (Singapore was placed at 90, due to an almost exactly opposite score).
And for Filipinos, it could literally be learned emotion. As Filipino journalist Alan C. Robles wrote in Time in 2005: "Hundreds of years of bad government have taught us to expect little from impersonal institutions. We know that our leaders are corrupt, that our country is marred by inequality, that there's plenty of injustice. We just try not to let it get in the way of enjoying life."
SEE: The 25 countries ranked least to most emotional, with the percentage of the country who experienced emotions daily shown: