Cross-Cultural Study Shows How Empathy In The U.S. Compares To The Rest Of World

Heart to heart.

most empathetic countries map
Michigan State University

A study published in the Journal Of Cross-Cultural Psychology ranked 63 countries throughout the world, and if it’s anything like the World Happiness Report, you could assume the U.S. got spanked again. But this time America actually cracked the top 10, coming in at lucky number 7. But judging from the results, you were totally in tune with that. Your toddler is the one who could use some work.

Data was obtained from an online survey of 104,365 people that looked at the links between empathetic feelings, personality traits such as agreeableness and conscientiousness, and “prosocial” behaviors like volunteering and charitable donations. Researchers, who claim this is the largest cross-cultural empathy study of its kind, found that Ecuador is the most empathetic country in the world, while Lithuania is the least. But they’re probably just pissed people keep confusing them for Russia. Venezuela, Estonia, Poland, and Bulgaria, rounded out the bottom 5 and 7 out of the 10 least empathetic countries were in Eastern Europe. Back in the USSR, you really don’t know how lucky you are.

The study concluded that “collectivist countries,” meaning countries with closer social groups and more interdependence within, had the highest empathy reserves. Ecuador was followed by Saudi Arabia, Peru, Denmark, and United Arab Emirates. Still, there are a few caveats — the survey was administered in English, relied on self-reporting, and did not distinguish between feelings of empathy towards people in their own country versus people from other countries. Plus, the research was conducted by Michigan State University, so if anyone should’ve had a home court advantage it should’ve been Mr. ‘Merica. Which begs the questions: Why the hell did we come in 7th place? Maybe you’re not as empathetic as you felt you were.

[H/T] Science Alert