Weekly research roundup: Positive emotions are highest in Latin America

Research roundup

This is a weekly series on the latest happiness research. Learn and be merry! 

It’s been a slow week for happiness news, but luckily Gallup swooped in (on my birthday, no less) with a comprehensive report on positive emotion in the world.

In 2013, Gallup asked about 1,000 adults in 138 countries about their positive experiences the day before. Did they experience lots of enjoyment? Laugh or smile a lot? Feel well-rested? Get treated with respect? Learn or do something interesting?

Those results were compiled into a Positive Experience Index. Latin America came out shining, taking 9 of the top 10 spots alongside Denmark. Latin American has a “cultural tendency . . . to focus on the positives in life,” Gallup explained. 

Syria scored the lowest for any country ever recorded, with 31% of people feeling well-rested or experiencing enjoyment, and only 25% learning or doing something interesting.  

Overall, over 7/10 people worldwide experienced lots of enjoyment, laughed or smiled a lot, felt well-rested, and got treated with respect. 51% learned or did something interesting. 

Here are the scores (not percentages). The average index landed at 71, putting the United States above average: 

Countries with highest positive emotion

Photo by Flickr user Wha’ppen