Public perception of trustworthiness, arrogance, and compassion

by Ryan Streeter on May 18, 2013. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

I finally got around to reading the Pew survey on Europe today.

Since I’ve spent about one-fifth of my professional life in Europe and have traveled it more than any continent other than my own, I find attitudes among Europeans about each other really interesting. Like this:

Screen Shot 2013-05-18 at 2.02.59 PM

It’s tempting to over-read these findings, so we need to resist the temptation. Still, it’s hard not to laugh when you look at the Most Compassionate column. It’s both hilarious and…very human. We all want to be known as more compassionate than others.

What’s especially interesting is how unified Europe is, with the sole exception of Greece, on the question of which country is most trustworthy: Germany. And yet everyone thinks their own country is the most compassionate. Why it’s easier to say others are trustworthy than compassionate is an interesting social science question.

I’d love to see a survey like this of U.S. states.