Hongkongers least likely to show their emotions: study

May 08, 2015 11:00
Cultural and demographic factors make Hong Kong people reluctant to display their emotions in public, a study says. Photo: Bloomberg

Hong Kong people have figured at the bottom in a global study on outward expression of emotions, Apple Daily reported.

A study undertaken by psychologists from the University of Wisconsin and others has concluded that Hongkongers are least likely to display their emotions in public, the report said.

The study put Zimbabweans at the top of the list in terms of outward expression of feelings, followed by Canadians and Americans.

About 5,340 people from 32 countries and regions were interviewed for the study. The average age of the interviewees was said to be 22.6.

Interviewees were questioned on how they express anger, contempt, antipathy, happiness, sadness or surprise under different occasions, as well as the extent of their expression.

People usually deem that emotional expression is related to national personality and cultural factors, but the study also showed that demographic structure is a factor.

It showed that people living in immigrant countries and regions prefer to communicate more with facial expressions due to language barrier, while those in regions with single source of population don’t like to do so. Hong Kong falls in the latter category.

Factors such as GDP and social pressure have nothing to do with the extent of emotional expression, according to the study.

The report quoted Dr. Stephen Mann, a Hong Kong psychologist, as saying that Hong Kong is a society full of competition, and that emotionality is usually regarded as behavior of the weak.

It cannot be said that Hongkongers are not friendly; it is just that they just don’t make friends easily, the expert said.

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